This is a follow-up to the last post. I strongly urge you to read the poem I put up by Robert Herrick before tackling this questionable tome on the existence of…
Living in the world as it presents itself can be a tough proposition. There are, alternately, blessings and benedictions, consequences and concerns, dilemmas and disillusionment, facts and fantasy, ennui and ecstasy, all of which bring us to the acceptance of life’s costs, payment for our conducts and, hopefully, contentment and serenity. Then there are the Catch-22’s to worry about: (actual film dialogue from the film “Catch 22”):
“In order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy and I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I'm not crazy any more- and I have to keep flying”
“You've got it! That's Catch-22.”
- That's some catch, that Catch-22.”
“It's the best there is!”
Of all the things in this world which hold definable effects, either positive or negative, it is in the catches where one might find strength and resolve. If I am aware of what might be negative in my life, then I can break the Catch 22 cycle, and grow spiritually. Isn’t that what a thinking man should concern himself with? Why trudge through life without a plan? Why seek to do nothing in the face of adversity? Why not grasp for the carrot on the end of the pole, or the brass ring? Why not stare into the sky and ask why? Carpe-freaking-Diem!
All fine questions that can be addressed on a day to day basis. A noble quest it is, this living in the world despite its drawbacks. But what if the day does not wish to be seized? What if your best efforts to proceed forward are marred with frequent stops to relive some of the journey, despite the cost? What if it is just a bad day?
Norman Vincent Peale had an answer to this sort of query. He made a pretty decent living at it, and became quite famous. (Well, famous enough for me to quote) his contention that one must always think in a positive manner is both a fine message to give, and a terrible burden to endure. Some things in life are just near impossible to put a positive face on it. If you doubt this, simply watch the evening news. Living in the here and now and maintaining a smile on your face is a chore.
For true respite from life’s less-then-optimal situations I choose to go further back in antiquity. “Non Illegitimi te carborundum” (Don’t let the Bastards get you down), the battle cry for WWII General “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell who led the United States in the China-Burma-India theater of that war. It brings to mind the idea that no matter what happens if you stand up for yourself, then things will work out.
So what does all this junk have to do with the gathering flowers implied in the title? Well, it is extremely important on a metaphorical level. Rosebuds are that part of the flower which, if handled correctly, will produce full, rich and beautiful plants ripe with examples of this most beloved of flora.
Well, perhaps, if we gather the metaphorical seeds to enlightenment, then it should not prove too difficult to beat back life’s illegitimate progeny. First on the list of seeds to amass would be the ability to engage and practice a system of faith that can supply the proper fertilizer for the growth process. Then it would be reasonably intelligent to actually believe in the avenue of illumination you wish to achieve adherence to.
That being said there are a plethora of avenues one might traverse, and that is left to the individual. For my purpose the next step is to request and provide assistance from my fellow thinking partners on this plain of existence. A wise man shared with me a section of a film he liked, “Peaceful Warrior” were the main character derided another player for working in “just a gas station.” The reply to this slight has affected my demeanor in a profound way – “This is not a gas station…it is a Service station…there is no higher calling.” If I am to seek the aid and comfort of others, then would it not be prudent to offer them the same assistance? Would it not be a priority for me to be a rosebud ripe for the gathering while I am about the same task?
There are rosebuds abounding in this life. The other day, at a local haven owned and operated by the progeny of the Sage from Bentonville, I struggled, as I do, to get out of the vehicle I was in. This was a small car close to the ground, and my infirmities saw this as a good example of how I need to be reminded of the fact, that I am not as mobile as days gone by. While I struggled, a complete stranger walked up and offered his hand to help me boost my rotund self out of the motor conveyance. For no reason other than the fact that he chose, freely, to adhere to mankind’s highest calling.
There’s another rosebud in my basket…one of many that I have yet to collect on my path in this existence. Let’s hope that when I get enough collected…I don’t kill the plants by over fertilizing them.