So. I have been on some journeys and have been taught some very important things. I am still mulling over some of the things I have seen, trying to make sense of it all. It is not as easy a process as I would have hoped! One thing I have learned for sure is the lesson my mother always tried to teach me as a young man. The same young man who wanted to chase the setting sun, hoping to make the day last a little longer, who wanted to grow and be strong, to shed his tiny frame. The young man who wanted to shout out the beauty of the world to all the people he saw...he needed to learn patience. Of all virtues, perhaps the hardest to cultivate.
And so I wait for the lessons of life to filter in, to settle into heart and mind. For example, what you are reading now is but a shadow of the depths to which I poured out my heart, only to find the prose deleted by sheer mischance. And so I slog away at trying to consciously capture meaning that only minutes before was pouring forth effortlessly into type.
I have heard it said that the twenties are the time for a person to find themselves, to discover who they are - and that the thirties are the time to understand exactly what that means. I am trying to understand what makes a man.
Is it to be strong and silent? Affable and kind? Is it to say less than you think or to speak your mind so completely that there is little left to say? Or is it a combination of these things? One thing I know for certain is that to be a true man means to offer something that benefits the community in which you live - be it hard knowledge or a gift of the spirit. To be grown and to offer nothing is to be nothing. A true man does not drain his people. I also know that it is an honour to help those in need, and a blessing to give of yourself to the degree that others are lifted up.
I speak of these things because I know that I am less than perfect. I have flaws and shortcomings. I have failed in instances when I tried so hard to succeed. But patience...this is my saving grace. It is the balm for all our sorrows.
As I have grown older, patience has become a value that has continued to grow with me. In place of impetuosness, I have found a well of calm and acceptance. This is no virtue of my own, but something that I have allowed to grow within me. And as it has grown, I have found wonderful gifts.
Human beings have a unique and amazing capacity to step aside from the flow and demand of mere survival. We can watch the stars move in their slow inexorable dance across the night sky. We can imagine the life of a galaxy, the last breath of a star before it explodes into a supernova. We can picture the swirling micromoment of a quark as it dissipates in the outburst of an explosion of colliding energies. Suddenly, it grows easier for us to accept and let pass a slight, a debt, a word spoken in anger. (to those of you to whom I owe money, don't worry, it's coming! and those who owe me money...take it easy and take your time) Our lives endure in this hard and practical plane, but our existence flows in the soft immutability of time as it flows in ever changing currents. Finding the balance between these two very real states is what teaches us to mature and continue.
Sorrow, loss, joy and fulfillment...these are all tied to currents. Do we drift along, or do we drop anchor and tie oursleves to one spot? Maybe, just maybe, we take control and steer our way down as best we can, always allowing for the quantum, the unpredictable. Patience is our lodestar. But the destination must remain unknown. It is, after all is said and done, the voyage that makes it all worth while...the journey is what we live for.