A Life Well Spent
“What is the use of living, if it is not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?” - Winston Churchill
Everyone has been divinely gifted with a certain amount of life and imbued with talents unique to each.
Consider all the evil in the world and the hopelessness that fills the hearts of most. It is crystal clear to those who see through the mist and maze of materialism that the only life well spent leaves the world a better place than when our journey began. How great or small that world depends solely on the amount of our life we give along the way or, conversely, how much we garner for ourselves.
In the end, I may rest knowing I have inspired those few souls that crossed my path. But there is yet a gnawing in my inner being – a sense that if I spent a little more of the divine energy with which I was entrusted, perhaps the very course of nations could be altered.
Yet even if I rise to that occasion and change the course of history, I will still wonder what could have been—how vast could my world have been had I reached out one more mile, persevered one more moment, or given one more ounce of my gift of life.
“WORLD OF TIME”
"Some take their time…
Some think there is enough of the stuff.
Others wonder what to do with the surfeit they find.
Each has been granted a sufficient amount… a lifetime to spend as we will.
But all should know that in the end
Time will pass us still"
Dear God, I have been working in your garden as you told us we should. Really, I hardly think of it as work as it has become the passion of my life. I know you are busy and helping out in the garden is the least we can do to repay you for Life. I always remember that the very first instruction to us was to tend and care for the Garden. Since that first little issue awhile back, I have also studiously avoided any forbidden fruit (GMOs and whatnot). I also had a talk with my wife and I think we are on the same page now.
I know there were some other instructions you mentioned later (ten, I think) but the gardening thing was first and I have often thought the other ten might not have been necessary if everyone had paid attention to the first. I am sorry to report some have been throwing plastic bags and some nasty stuff into the lakes and streams. Furthermore, neglect on the part of some lazy ‘anti-gardeners’ has resulted in weeds being a perennial issue.
Which brings me to the point and a simple request. I know I have run out of time but this gardening endeavour really has captured my attention and I feel like there is some more I could do that would surely enhance things. I was in the middle of planting some rare ancient heritage flower seeds and some very nice herbs when, alas, time ran out. I was wondering if perhaps I might be granted just one more hour to finish what I started. I am sure you will be pleased with the result.
Ah... thanks so much!”
Two hours later – Apology
“Dear God, I must offer my sincere apology. I know you gave me one hour and it has now become two and I have overstayed. Let me explain and I am sure you will not find me remiss. You see I went out this morning and lo and behold, there were cutworms infesting the tomatoes and an apparent blight on the squash. I worked diligently to get it all sorted in time but it just could not be done, hence the extra hour. You will be pleased to note it is all under control now and things are as they should be.
However, I noticed my neighbor was having some similar issues and I think he could use my expertise in resolving his problems. As you mentioned, we should all be about helping our neighbors, etc. So... do you think you could spare just one more hour? In fact, if you make it two, I think I could pretty much put the whole neighborhood in order and you would have a garden to be proud of and not regret it. One and a half might do it, but two would surely get the job done. --- Ah... thank you so much.”
One thing I have noticed about gardeners; hanging out with living things all day gives them lust for life and there is never enough. I have also noted that all truly dedicated gardeners have one thing in common; they are consummate finaglers of Time. I have also noted that in the case of those committed to the “Garden of Life” Time does not seem to mind.
Charlie Chaplin – The Truth be Told
Thoughts on how to successfully hide the truth…
Charlie Chaplin once entered a look-a-like contest in Switzerland. He came in third.
One of the greatest commodities of our time is the service of obscuring the truth. The endeavour is not limited to politicians as is commonly thought, but is demanded of many products, natural and otherwise and includes philosophies, religions, and especially the news media. Those who excel in masking the truth are in great demand and many are highly paid practitioners of the art of deception.
Some seek to hide the truth in some remote and secret place. This most often proves fruitless, as the determined will seek it out in time—there are only so many places to hide an item as large as the truth. Our society loves a game and playing “hide and seek” is instilled from the early years. So, forget the secret place if you wish to deceive.
Better to hide the truth in an open venue midst a hundred falsities, erring just a bit in each so as to confuse all who gaze upon the possibilities. Mind you, those who really care to know will discern the false and find the truth. But, seeking the truth is a tedious chore and most will despair and abandon the search early on.
After all—who really cares? Finding this Chaplin or another is not the goal. Most merely want to be entertained and who does the entertaining is of little consequence.
Follow the crowd and truth will nearly always come in third.
PRAYER OF A WANDERING ARTIST
“Dear God … just one more hour, one more moment of adventure, one more step along the trail, one more magical wonder to behold. Is it too much to ask?...
Ah, thank you.”
Two hours later... Apology
“Dear God, I must express my sincere regret for having overextended my stay. I know it was but an hour you gave and now that hour has become two. If you let me explain I am sure you will not hold me remiss. You see, a “wonder” that I witnessed in that extra given hour had a small but unmistakable flaw. I could not leave it in such a state, as I am sure you will agree, and fixing it took a bit longer than expected. Don’t worry, it’s fine now. I was wondering though… do you perchance have any other broken wonders in need of repair? I do have a great deal of experience and perhaps could be of some use…for just one more hour.”
How does one describe the end of this awe-inspiring journey called life—the longing of every adventurous heart and lover of life for just a bit more time? G. K. Chesterton noted in The Poet and the Cheese, "It is the “feeling that one has strayed into a lost and extra hour that is not numbered in the 24. ”
When one encounters the professional Wanderer there is one conspicuous trait found in all—they are consummate finaglers of “Time”. I have also discovered that in the case of the truly dedicated Wanderer—“Time” does not seem to mind...
COLLECTED THOUGHTS AND POEMS
The last words spoken to me by my mother have burned in my heart for many decades, “Fulfill your destiny “.
It takes precisely one lifetime to scale the mountain of our potential. How close we come to achieving the peak depends entirely on us.
Most who attempt Everest know the dangers and proceed with care. The rest are buried in the ice. How much more perilous is the climb to our destiny. There is no time to contemplate the difficulties, wishing they were not. Boulders abound. Deep crevices and quandaries on both sides often leave only one option; climb over the damned rock.
Mind you, time has been allotted for stops along the path; occasion to encourage our fellow alpinists or to gaze in awe at the sheer beauty of life. Picnics are allowed. There is even ample to backtrack and try a different “face” if the first is not negotiable.
But each stop of self-indulgent hesitation; of pity or fruitless railings on obstacles we think unfair is not credited to our “time account”. To paraphrase, “climb while it is day for the night comes when no man can climb.”
Few have planted the flag after making the final ascent. Many have come close. Moses looked into the Promised Land, but a single bout of anger and pride kept him from entering in.
The older mountaineers look back and wish they had prepared better and focused more fully. They would do many things differently, but this is not a rehearsal. We each get one shot.
Despite arguments to the contrary, we all begin our journey in the same base camp. Some have longer legs, or more muscular bodies and others inherit superior gear. But nothing can stop a man or woman from achieving all they can be but themselves.
So, forgetting those things that hinder, let us ascend with all our might up into the clouds where the air is thin and travellers few. Bloodied hands and weary minds will seem scant price to pay when that glorious peak- our destiny- comes into view.
Who knows, with one final push we may join the ranks of world changers and makers of history; of those whose art or music inspire mankind to greater glory; creators of miraculous cures; life-changing inventors; authors of books that remain relevant for a thousand years; of all those who had gone before and proved that nothing is impossible to the determined soul if it has been ordained by God.
The Distant Shore
Never a soaring gull did weep
Who came to look at ocean deep
For a gull's thoughts are always high
Thinking of cloud and dark blue sky
But should we fall along the way
Know only what the gull did say
No Icy water down below
I saw only the Distant Shore
And should we by faith find our goal
True peace and joy will fill our soul
Our names are signed in seagulls' lore
At last, we reached the Distant Shore
THE ARTIST's FAVORITE POEM by Kenneth Slessor
Two chronometers the captain had,
One by Arnold that ran like mad,
One by Kendall in a walnut case,
Poor devoted creature with a hang-dog face.
Arnold always hurried with a crazed click-click
Dancing over Greenwich like a lunatic,
Kendal panted faithfully his watch-dog beat,
Climbing out of yesterday with sticky little feet.
Arnold choked with appetite to wolf up time,
Madly round the numerals his hands would climb,
His cogs rushed over and his wheels ran miles,
Dragging Captain Cook to the Sandwich Isles.
But Kendall dawdled in the tombstone past,
With sentimental prejudice to going fast,
And he thought very often of a haberdasher's door
And a yellow-haired boy who would knock no more.
All through the night-time, clock talked to clock,
In the captain's cabin, tock-tock-tock,
One ticked fast and one ticked slow,
And time went over them a hundred years ago.
The Adventurous Soul
Someone once said, "Wouldn't it be better to die doing something daring than to drop dead in an office, and the last thing you see is someone you don't like?" For me, to live the way I now live—reaching for the ultimate adventure—means life itself.
The unborn embarks on his or her first adventure upon the day of birth. The first adventure is, of course, not left purely to choice. It seems God insists we all have at least one.
When able to crawl, the little tyke adventures all over the living room. If heads are turned, perchance a trek down the hall into the forbidden study of dear old dad. Or, "Aha, a kitchen".
The two-year-old does not understand the meaning of any other word but adventure and courage. Everything is a risk – a risk of getting caught – of a burn – of falling – of not finding the way back. But these thoughts never cross the mind – "Ahead to what's next!" is the shout of the untamed heart.
When the youth finally can communicate with those who are "wiser", the natural urge to explore is handed a dozen reasons why it is, in fact, an unnatural state of affairs suggesting God has somehow made a mistake by creating us with a wandering heart. "Calm down", they say.
There are two kinds of people in life: 1) Those who never really fear because they have never done anything worthy of fear and 2) those who, as President John Quincy Adams suggested, "through courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."
Without adventure, there is no life, and without courage, you cannot fulfil the dreams that danced in your imagination before the first light of day struck your soul.
Keep crawling around.