Did I care ? Not right away. It was just a scrap of paper, yellowed and soggy, with a kind of typeface I am fond of: you know, the kind with feet: little extra bits on the corners of the letters. The words were very very small though and I thought I’d let it dry out before trying to read it.
I’d fished it out of the lake – No! That sounds somehow heroic. More exactly: I found it just about to break away from a reed on the shoreline. It would have floated out if I hadn’t passed at that moment, eventually been shredded by rain, I guess, and unceremoniously submerged.
I held it in my open palm walking home and laid it gently on the dining table as soon as I got in. I did turn it over then, and was happy to see there was nothing on the back. I could place it on another paper and thus preserve it without sacrificing some other text – or having to choose between them.
What the hell did it say, you wonder, as that must be the reason I’m telling you all this, right? Well I won’t keep you waiting any longer: here is the text in its entirety
…brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Eventually I did find out what it was an excerpt of, but I won’t bother you with that, as it is for all practical purposes irrelevant! It wont make the words any truer or more meaningful. Either you see the value of them or you don’t. A diamond isn’t any less a diamond because it’s sitting on a dung heap, nor is fecal matter other than what it is on a silver plate.
You can google it, if you want, though. Even just the first three words after the brothers and sisters bit. And while you are at it, google orthopraxy.