"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Friday, April 11, 2003
We all see the world only through our own looking glass.
point of view Date: 1720
1 : a position from which something is considered or evaluated
2 : something in others that, once experienced, brings great understanding
I spent some time tonight with the bereaved.
I went into the Harbor of Refuge chat channel for a while just to kill some time, and walked into a conversation that was already well along. One of the channel regulars had lost his mother that morning.
From what I gathered his family situation was not the best in the world, and he has had other problems too. What made this unique to me was that he was Pakistani, and I think Hindu.
He spoke to us about his mother and the things she taught him, the sayings she had left with him. He spoke on how her wise words had helped him through the problems he has faced, and they have been big problems too. He remembered his mother with great respect and love even though I gathered there had been family issues before she died and he had not been able to be present at her passing.
It was moving to see his mother through his eyes.
I remember several months ago I went to visit my own mother, this was before I knew I was ill. While I was there for some reason she pulled out her Bible and showed me some letters her father had written to her fifty years ago. In his words I could see a loving parent, a wise man, who cared deeply for his daughter and wanted her happiness above anything. He was a man who loved his family so much that it hurt. Through those letters, fifty years old, my grandfather and I made the connection we were denied in life because he died before I was born.
Here was a man, I thought, who felt as I did, who thought like I did, who cared like I did. I loved him right from that moment, knowing what a great man he was, standing in his shoes fifty years hence, knowing that we would have loved each other deeply.
And I could not help but think, what of me, fifty years from now? Who will pull my letters out of their Bible and who will care to see them?
Is there anything else in the world that really matters other than that?
Its hard for me because I have no natural children. I do have two stepchildren that I love very much, but my genetic package dies with me, there is no person going on into the next generation to carry my flag onwards.
I am the period on six thousand years of human history.
When it all boils down to it, what we send forward is the sum total of what we did. We have to contribute something or we are lost, just eddies in time that fade away like swirls in a teacup. I don't want to do that. I want to make a difference, to mean something, to be the type of person that someone will pull a letter out fifty years from now and say "Here is a letter from Cliff" and someone else will be eager to read it.
I have no idea how to go about that.
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Crowfoot's last words (1890) (Blackfoot warrior and orator)