I've written before that my favorite book in the bible is probably Ecclesiastes and that's mainly because it seems almost Buddhist in its incantations. I've actually memorized my favorite lines:
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity! What does man gain by all the toil by which he toils under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness, a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
I don't know about you, but that passage gives me comfort -- it's that acknowledgement of one's relative insignificance in the grand scheme of things that makes me feel not just relief but gratitude to even be here at all. As I wrote that out, though, I felt a tiny pinprick of fear that I generally don't feel -- and that has much to do with the environmental degradation of our planet, how the phrase the earth remains forever could very possibly be presumptuous.
Here's the re-post of an old post:
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Changed by a Child
You know how when you're ambling around, sipping a cup of coffee from Starbucks, sitting in the driver's seat of the car with the door open and not wanting to get out because the sun is shining perfectly on your face and outstretched leg that's perched on the handle of the door and you know that inside are unmade beds and bills piled up and the thought, forever lodged, about what to do with Sophie, about Sophie, for Sophie.
Well, five minutes ago, there I sat. And I sighed (there's nothing like a good sigh), stood up and out of the car and went inside. When I checked my email, one of my dearest friends had sent me this on Facebook, and if that isn't what Jung calls "synchronicity," I don't know what is.
Accommodation by Barbara Gill
A relentless southwest wind blows in the Laramie Range of Wyoming. It has blown for eons, scraping the mountains bare of soil, carving out the landscape. It causes trees to grow at an angle and lifts into the air things that ought to stay on the ground. It complicates all manner of human activity. People who live there successfully have reached an accommodation with the wind; some who couldn't went insane.
Disability is a steady west wind in our lives. It permeates our existence, altering the topography of our days and causing our families and our life to grow at an angle. Without judging the wind as good or bad, we can observe the truth of it, acknowledge the force of it in our lives, and take the measure of our accommodation.
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Oh Elizabeth. You cannot imagine how much I needed both those passages this morning, and your wise surrounding words, the reminder to let it be, to not judge the winds as good or bad, but to just observe the truth of it, and measure our accommodation. There is a situation right now that i am powerless to fix it, so these words are right on time for me, thank you thank you thank you.ReplyDelete
Yes. Upon reading those lines from Ecclesiastes, that phrase, "but the earth remains forever" struck me too. Hard. Like...Oh god. I hope so.ReplyDelete
It is a comforting bit of verse to read, isn't it? In so many ways. Here we are, doing what has always been done and will always be done.
And then the repost of learning to live with what one cannot change. Learning to adapt our very bodies and spirits and souls.
This is a real double-shot of wisdom right here, baby. Thanks.
That writing by Barbara Gill, wow. I love it and the part where we don't judge the wind as good or bad, just observe the truth of it, a very powerful reminder for me today and everyday. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I stumbled at the earth part, too. Remember The Fault in Our Stars? The earth gets a longer infinity than we do, for sure. But not as long as of an infinity as space, perhaps. I don't know. Love endures forever, the bible says. So there's that.ReplyDelete
The Gill passage speaks greater truth for me.
Accommodation is survival, I think.ReplyDelete
This DOES seem a very Buddhist post -- the cyclical nature of things, the desires that can never be fulfilled, the need to acknowledge but not judge. Love the quotations.ReplyDelete
Your post washed over me....I too needed to read this. Post vacation blues (?), to many thoughts swirling around...needing to feel centered and balanced. Thank you...ReplyDelete
A beautiful and moving post, thank you dear Elizabeth. Your friend's words are equally moving. Like you, she is someone whom I would love to meet.ReplyDelete
I felt the sigh. The sigh for all that has been and all that will be. I am proud to sigh with you, my friend.ReplyDelete
All of that is just what I needed today. Thank you.ReplyDelete