Fact or Fiction?

Another heatwave. Welcome to July in Ottawa. Last year, we had our own inground pool to get us through the hot days. This year we have a shared condo pool with limitations and covidian rules. Some days we don’t get to set foot inside the iron fence at all. It’s our own fault for downsizing and moving into resort-style living B.P. (Before Pandemic).

One day this week, Hubby and I looked forward to our one-hour turn poolside. Our only booked slot in a three-day stretch, we were timing things down to the second so we could enjoy every one of those sixty minutes. We’d eat lunch before we go, have our bags packed early, and allow plenty of time for the elevator.

I dialed the number to the guardhouse to book our time for the next available day, not wanting to have another string of no-pool days. Expecting the normal automated answer with menu options, I was surprised to hear ring after ring with no response. After three such attempts, I decided the answering machine was not at home. More drastic measures needed to be taken to secure our spots poolside. Someone else was likely booking the last slots as I sat there with the phone to my ear.

The security guard met me in his gatehouse door at the entrance to our condo parking lot, masked and ready to pencil in our names.

“This is a rough way to book time at the pool,” I half-joked.

He checked his book. “The next available time is Friday.”

I groaned. Another day of heat wave with no pool.

As he recorded my information for Friday, I chatted away, suspecting the man might be lonely in his little isolation booth. I commented on the rumors I’d heard that management was considering changing some of the rules to give us a better opportunity to maximize occupancy on the pool deck; allowing drop-ins if people didn’t show up for their booked time.

He shook his head. “I don’t know. They’re really strict about the rules.” He pointed toward the pool area with his pen. “In fact, they’ve shut down the pool for the entire day because people weren’t following the rules.”

My heart sank as I digested this bit of news. “Today?”

He nodded. “Yep. They shut it down for the rest of the day.”

Disappointment turned to anger. “What rules were they breaking?” I couldn’t think of anything a group of nine adults could possibly do to warrant closing the pool and punishing everyone for their sin. Were we in elementary school? Should we call everyone to the gym to be lectured by the principal?

The guard leaned in to impart his knowledge, his mask making him fearless of my proximity. “Apparently, people stayed longer than they were supposed to, so too many people ended up being in the pool area at once.”

My voice went up an octave. “And they closed the pool?”

“Yep. They take the rules seriously.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “Wow.” What else could I say? I thanked him for his help with my entertainment schedule and headed back, my anger growing with each step.

Seriously? We’re missing out on our enjoyment because someone else was selfish and showed disregard for others…

A small group had gathered near the entrance of one of the condo buildings. I recognized the superintendent as one of the assembled.

“Is this an organized rebellion?” I asked, pushing a smile past my frustration. “Did they really close the pool because someone broke the rules?”

I saw confusion in their squinty-eyed stares. They must not have heard. I relayed my story to them, repeating the guard’s explanation.

Before I finished, one of the ladies was shaking her head, not with indignation as I expected, but in denial. “No, that’s not why the pool is closed,” she refuted confidently. “It’s closed because the phone lines are down. They’re not allowed to operate the outdoor pool without a direct line to emergency services.”

She addressed the super standing next to her. “You need to tell the guard. He’s spreading untruths and making people upset.”

He obediently removed his walkie-talkie from his belt and informed the guard of the situation. And it was over, just like that. There was no argument against a city rule imposed for our safety.

I had to lay down my anger and leave it on the cement curb – not an easy task when my body had assimilated the emotion so well. I’m not even sure I thanked them for clarifying things and imparting the truth.

As I walked back to my own building, my disbelief in the situation had jumped from the injustice of the condo management company (and the life guard on duty) to the discomfiture of having believed the story I was told by someone I felt had authority. As preposterous as it seemed, I accepted his version of events because I trusted that he should know the truth.

This blind acceptance of “truth” applies to so many things. As we navigate through the global pandemic, we put our trust in those who inform us – the medical experts, scientists, journalists, and politicians. They should be “in the know.” We often listen to their knowledge and accept it as facts, with no further evidence to support their words.

Our tendency to assign credence to Science, and those who study it, can cause our belief system to be shaped by their explanations and theories; even as it pertains to our very existence – the origin of life and the acceptance or rejection of an all-powerful God as creator.

In Romans 1:19-20, the author Paul is amazed that anyone viewing His creations could deny the sovereignty of God:

They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Yet, a Google search of creation will bring up articles such as Charles Q. Choi’s “7 Theories on the Origin of Life” (2016, livescience.com). According to Choi, explanations of how life began on Earth range from lightning sparks, clay crystals arranging themselves, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, glacier preservation, molecules spontaneously rising out of the Earth, to space rocks falling on our planet carrying Martian microbes. Even then, all of these magical beginnings do not explain how the Earth ended up with the variety of living things that exist in plants, animals and humans. Many people believe Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution stepped in to form human life from the correct humble accident listed above and accept this as more plausible than a supernatural creator of all living things.

We highly regard scientists with their intellect and knowledge from research, and often accept their theories as truth. Is it more ridiculous, though, to believe that a supernatural being created all life than believing that random molecules organized themselves into life, whether under a glacier or in the sky?

I choose to believe the Bible.

So, God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:27

The beauty and balance of creation: the planets, stars, moon and sun; the land and the water; trees, grass and other plants; animals, fish and birds; they all speak to the glory of their Creator.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display His craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make Him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

After each day of creation, God acknowledged that what He did was good. It is not a stretch for me to believe that God then created humans. And when He surveyed all of His creation, with these most special beings at the end – His crowning accomplishment, He “looked over all He had made, and saw that is was very good!” (Genesis 1:31)

We were created to have intelligence to be able to choose who to believe. When I look closely at a beautiful cardinal, smell the sweet perfume of a wild rose, or feel my heart race in my chest, I can’t help but thank God for purposely making all these things. And making them very good.

Who do you listen to? What do you believe?

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