What is necassary in life?

Bird Droppings October 13, 2009
What is necessary in life?

Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, and is it true, does it improve on the silence? Sai Baba

Waiting for a drop of rain was to be my title for today’s offering but it has been raining most of yesterday and through the night and as I read this quote earlier today the idea of what is necessary came to mind. We so often do not think before we speak. I am a bad one for that many times over and still forget to ask these words.

“There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.” Black Elk, Holy man of Lakota Sioux

I wonder, what is the temperature that tree frogs and crickets require to come out at night, I think I like that temperature. There was a stillness this morning yet enhanced by the steady beat of rain drops. The cloud cover seemed to muffle civilization and quiet the surrounding peripheral noise. I noticed how wet the ground was as I walked out which I tend to do bare footed many mornings. As I sat pondering watching an ember on a piece of white sage leave dwindle to nothing the other day, a drop of rain hit my face. I recall it was not too long ago that I had gone out in the morning for nearly a year and never had rain. This summer it has not been quite that dry and many morning have kept me inside.

“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I put in a question and answered once, the person I would most like to meet was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Working with children with issues I have this sort of startled effect nearly every day. But I would use the word intrigued me rather than startled.

“A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Piecing this together today randomly grasping bits of Emerson’s thoughts one must savor words, look for what meaning RWE was implying as he wrote so many years ago. True friendship is mentioned so frequently and often very flippantly. I see students in the hallways in their clicks dressed alike, acting alike, but is that friendship or simply a peer group, a herd of like minded humans.

“A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friendship and courage totally different yet similar, there is a repetitiveness, a doing over as Emerson speaks of “doing the thing before”. A friend does not do something simply once, but will repeat the act and idea again and again because you are friends.

“A man finds room in the few square inches of his face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being an active observer of people, I am always watching people as they move in life and this statement of Emerson’s is so true. I have come to know when certain people are upset just by seeing the look in their eyes, or the wrinkles on their face. When a student ponders a thought all day you can tell it may be a broken relationship or a new relationship. A little girl yesterday came in so excited, she had made a ninety on her math test and she did not cheat, whine, moan, or groan, she had done it on her own, a first. What was so amazing was she now all of sudden knew other aspects of math she the day before could not remember or at least said she could not. Her teacher deliberately took away all possibilities for her to use others she had to do her own work and in success which she could have had any time she won and her day and attitude towards class changed.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

If only we could have patience daily. I start my day asking for patience and thinking that today I will be patient. With one student I can remember I would find myself asking other students am I yelling at him, to check myself and to have a witness. But it is the hard time and bad times that need to be guides for us to teach us and help us attain what we truly can be.

“Be an opener of doors.” Ralph Waldo Emerson “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I often wonder if I were building houses would I put in all windows or doors. Most doors open both ways allowing entrance and exit. Windows tend to be one sided. I would if I could and keep structural integrity and build an all door house. We have to be ready for new ideas thoughts from others to come in. We have to be ready to forge a new pathway and leave a trail for others to see and set an example.

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have watched fear defeat the strongest person and humble men. Holding on to a fear can be debilitating. It is approaching life as each day as another challenge a new stage, leave the old behind, be unencumbered going out today.

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I hate the giving of the hand unless the whole man accompanies it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

So true my dear friend Ralph Waldo, when we continue to hold a grudge we lose minutes of happiness of joy of peace of mind. When we offer our hand, do we offer a hand or us, a simply thought yet so significant?

“I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my days of seminary and in ministry I have been in sanctuaries all over the country. There were many beautiful works of art, windows, paintings and sculptures. Several days ago I mentioned the Atlanta Greek Orthodox cathedral and one that impressed me even more was a small Episcopal church in Decatur area where an aged monk did his last stained glass windows. He used only reds and blues and shades between and he created the sacraments in abstract stained glass. Sitting alone in that church bathed in reds and blues from the sunlight filtering through the sacraments of that church was an awe inspiring event, till someone spoke and the mood changed. Sadly it went from inner thoughts to someone else’s thoughts.

“If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I want to end with this idea of Emerson’s, a truly powerful statement. So often we tend to not want help yet when a hand is extended as Emerson says more than likely they are on higher ground, spiritually, emotionally, physically and combinations of the three. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.

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