Sunday, December 25, 2011

To Be Oneself

Chesapeake Bay Sunset photo contributed by Sharon Ewing


The Telling that Changes Everything II

December 11, 2011

 Being who you are won’t fix
everything, but it is something
each of us can do, whatever
our circumstances. We can be
killed, maimed, have lies told
about us, but our truth will
shine into their darkness,
whoever they are, whatever
their intentions. Their humanity
is as frail and needy as our own.
They also have the choice: to be
who they are or betray themselves,
the worst evil there is, and so
often not named in our world,
more and more confused about
what matters. It goes back to
steamrollers. When I told that
professor I was dropping out,
he, who’d said he didn’t know
if I had a mind for literature
but I certainly had a heart
for it, said to me: "The steamroller
will get you." Our society now
has so many steamrollers and so
many already flattened people
who act like cardboard cutouts of
themselves. But why not be a grain
of sand? In time the steamroller
will get you, too, but you might
contribute to the clogging and
malfunction of one machine.
When the machines fail, maybe
the cardboard cutouts will remember
they’re human and speak their
truth. What other weapon do we
have that is as potent a catalyst,
as sure to defeat pomposity and
power seized by the small-minded
and those frightened by their own
shadows? Let the shadows out of
Jung’s dark closet. There is plenty
of light to dance in, and our
suffering, paradoxically, can all
be felt as a necessary part of
self-hood and a happiness that,
if not eternal, won’t easily be
destroyed, even if we die. You
see, the ecstasy the true self
experiences is outside time, and
it’s contagious. It doesn’t need
steamrollers to make its point.
It relies on light–the Light that
is the Universe’s way of being,
the Light we were all born to
see and to live by. We may
stagger in our darkness,
but if we move confidently
forward, we’ll see the gray light
of Dawn, then the yellow saffron
of her mantle, the rosy fingers
with which she lights our day,
and what, then, will steamrollers
matter to such tough-spirited,
joyous individual grains of sand?

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed seeing the photo taken by John Ewing on the second morning of our weekend celebration of his 80th birthday down on the tip of the Northern Neck of Virginia the first weekend of December. However, it is a sunrise, not a sunset - and that's more appropriate for the poem that follows - sorry if I didn't make it clear. We just drank up the changing colors that eventually gave way to full sunlight when the sun rose above the water. Sharon