Sunday, 20 September 2015

A journey of passion.

If life is a journey, then this journey is filled with many fresh water ponds along the way. They quench the thirst that is in your soul. They let you see further and widens your perspective. They are there to pick you up and inspire you on. Having turned 45 recently, I have come across many fresh water ponds in my journey. They come in the form of a pat on the back by someone you admire or a trip to a foreign land that enlightens deeply or an epiphany of some sort.

Recently, I came across a small refreshing pond in the form of a word of advice by poet and humanitarian Samuel Ullman. It is taken from his famous poem “Youth”. An extract of it reads: “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

I felt this deeply because as the years roll by, as I advance in age, the pull of gravity somehow increases. I felt I was travelling alone. I felt the emotional baggage had gained more jaded weight. My steps were heavier. My spirit sags with disillusionment. My soul drags with a sense of resignation. And my flesh – ever the lowly opportunist – takes the broad way instead of the narrow road and seeks its own indulgences. The carnality and superficiality of things became surprisingly more alluring.

The g-force of life thus takes its subtle toll on me. Soul first, then spirit. And the world unfolding doesn’t help or inspire much here. Humanity, or its inhumanity, leaves little for hope either. Self-interest still reigns on high. The gods of this world is anything but benevolent - sadistic even. At most times, it is still about survival of the fittest, wealthiest, prettiest and silliest. The blessings of these deities are bestowed upon those who worship self above others.

There seems to be no logic in most things. We live in a fractured world of broken reasons. How do you explain the overnight successes of those who blatantly tout the value of greed, lust, shame, gluttony, blind ambition and arrogance? How do you come to understand the prosperity of prosperity preachers whose only aim is to prosper themselves and fleece the unwitting and desperate? How do you comprehend political actors who are supposedly developed in every conceivable faculty except the heart and conscience? And how do you even explain to your child about the cruelty of man, the rapaciousness of their desires, the suffering of the innocent, the hopelessness of the dehumanized, the agony of the majority, the exploitation of the disadvantaged, and the delusion of the masses? Can you then blame me for feeling the laden-ness of gravity?

I therefore needed a fresh water pond in any form and it came in that quote. Indeed, “nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

I guess like courage, our life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s enthusiasm. While I know viscerally that reality leaves no stones of disappointment unturned, I also know that if we look closer, study the ground, dig deeper, and resist the hypnotic sway of disillusionment, we will find resilient hope in the many things we take for granted or dismiss as idealistic. 

In other words, what we often overlook in our desperation to pursue the mirages of this world and to fill the empty spaces in our heart with even more emptiness, we invariably come back full circle to where we first started and recognize for the first time what we'd overlooked as indispensable to our growth and happiness. 

Let me end in a way befitting of my quest for little fresh water ponds in this journey of life. Let me end with the following 5 questions for reflection:-

What if I can hold time in my hand like fine grains of sand and treasure every one passed with a heart that offers ceaseless thanks?

What if I see in the eyes of my children the hope of a future and keep the right balance between endless showering and timeless nurture?

What if I transform that promise at the altar into a lifetime of devotion that never falters and love unceasing knowing that love in itself is always empowering?

What if I pursue truth uncompromising and hold steadfast to it even when the circumstances that conspire to break me are most unrelenting?


What if I live for a purpose that goes beyond the material and seek to put my hope in the unseen because what appears material is often nothing but passing meme?


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