Monday, February 14, 2011

The Simple Things

Once upon a time, way back in the days of Greek mythology, there lived a Titan named Atlas. Atlas was very big, very muscular, and had been asigned the less-than-pleasant task of bearing the weight of the sky on his shoulders. He made Heracles carry it for a while and tried to ditch him with it, but of course Heracles tricked Atlas into taking it back. Why? Well, the Greeks couldn't just leave Heracles there - he's the hero. We can't have him missing out on his happy ending just because he's stuck under the sky. But Heracles isn't the one we're focusing on here, so forget about him for a while. I want to take a moment to think about Atlas. He had to carry the weight of the whole sky for a milenia before Heracles came along, and even then he only got a ten minute break. I feel sympathy for the poor Titan. The sky is quite a load to shoulder.

I find that sometimes we as people try to take on the weight of the sky, so to speak. Of course, thanks to modern discovery, we know that there isn't acutally a giant guy in a loin cloth standing at the top of a mountian holding the sky. We know about astronomy and gravity and atmosphere and everything else. When I say we hold up the sky, I mean it figuratively - in the sense that we hold up burdens that are extremely heavy for us, but that we feel are necessary to bear. For example, I now bear the burnden of my major requirements (all of them), my finances, and many thoughts of a future for which I cannot yet plan. Others shoulder the weight of supporting a family, the paying of bills and mortgages, the battle against illness and physical pain, or the crushing pressure of debt. You name it - everyone has something to carry.

Now, I must introduce another character to the scene. His name is Henry David Thoreau. He went out into the New England woods, built a cabin, grew his own food, and lived there next to a little lake in Massachusets for two years, two months, and a couple days. He wrote about his experiences there and published them in a book named after the lake - "Walden." He told the world to "Simplify, simplify, simplify," to live on the nessesities, and to own our possessions and not to let them own us. He said of his experience, "I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I cam to die, discover that I had not lived."

I wonder, sometimes, if that person won't be me - the one that gets to the end of their life, and realizes that I spent so much time worrying about what may be, or could be, or should be, that I forgot to live. May I urge every one of you not to let that happen to you or anyone else. Own your burndens and troubles - but do not let them own you.

The weather is becoming warmer. Today was absolutely beautiful, and the rest of the week promises much of the same. It is, as I have heretofore stated, the time of year for chocolate and sugar cookies. I suggest going and enjoying these things while they are present, instead of letting them pass by in the shadow of worries and troubles. Go and feel the sun on your face. Let the wind brush across your skin and bring new life to your lungs. Look at the trees and the grass and the robin readbreasts on the buildings and telephone wires. Listen to music or birdsong. Run. Rest. Dance. Sing. Anything - just go experience one of the simple, beautiful, magical things that make life worth living from day to day. Every blessing you discover will bring a little more peace and happiness to your days - and I think you'll find that the burden you carry will be a little lighter for the experience.

That is all I can write. I must now go out and enjoy the sunshine before the clouds roll in. Many thanks, and much love on this Valentines Day. 'Til next time, my friends!


  1. We live in a society that puts so much emphasis on the individual and individual success. Sometimes it is a heavy burden, that inherit drive and desire to accomplish big things all on your own, and *fast*. :-(

  2. By the way, I'll have your story (SO GOOD) back to you tomorrow. I actually finished reading it Saturday night - it's just taking forever to compose my thoughts into communicatable words and ideas.