I sat wondering: Why is there always this deep shade of melancholy over the fields arid river banks, the sky and the sunshine of our country? And I came to the conclusion that it is because with us Nature is obviously the more important thing. The sky is free, the fields limitless; and the sun merges them into one blazing whole. In the midst of this, man seems so trivial. He comes and goes, like the ferry-boat, from this shore to the other; the babbling hum of his talk, the fitful echo of his song, is heard; the slight movement of his pursuit of his own petty desires is seen in the world's market-places: but how feeble, how temporary, how tragically meaningless it all seems amidst the immense aloofness of the Universe! The contrast between the beautiful, broad, unalloyed peace of Nature—calm, passive, silent, unfathomable,—and our own everyday worries—paltry, sorrow-laden, strife-tormented, puts me beside myself as I keep staring at the hazy, distant, blue line of trees which fringe the fields across the river. Where Nature is ever hidden and cowers under mist and cloud, snow and darkness, there man feels himself master; he regards his desires, his works, as permanent; he wants to perpetuate them, he looks towards posterity, he raises monuments, he writes biographies; he even goes the length of erecting tombstones over the dead. So busy is he that he has not time to consider how many monuments crumble, how often names are forgotten!
Rabindranath Tagore
On PleasurePleasure is a freedom-song,But it is not freedom.It is the blossoming of your desires,But it is not their fruit.It is a depth calling unto a height,But it is not the deep nor the high.It is the caged taking wing,But it is not space encompassed.Aye, in very truth, pleasure is a freedom-song.And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing.Some of your youth seek pleasure as if it were all and they are judgedand rebuked.I would not judge nor rebuke them. I would have them seek.For they shall find pleasure, but not her alone;Seven are her sisters and the least of them is more beautiful thanpleasure.Have you not heard of the man who was digging in the earth for rootsand found a treasure?And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongscommitted in drunkenness.But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisement.They should remember their pleasures with gratitude, as they wouldthe harvest of a summer.Yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted.And there are among you those who are neither young to seek nor oldto remember;And in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures,lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it.But even in their foregoing is their pleasure.And thus they too find a treasure though they dig for roots with quiveringhands.But tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit?Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night, or the firefly thestars?And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind?Think you the spirit is a still pool which you can trouble with a staff?Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire inthe recesses of your being.Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow?Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will notbe deceived.And your body is the harp of your soul,And it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.And now you ask in your heart, How shall we distinguish that whichis good in pleasure from that which is not good?Go to your fields and your gardens and you shall learn that it is thepleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasureis a need and an ecstasy.
Kahlil Gibran
It doesn't matter what the manifest problem was in our childhood family. In a home where a child is emotionally deprived for one reason or another that child will take some personal emotional confusion into his or her adult life. We may spin our spiritual wheels in trying to make up for childhood's personal losses, looking for compensation in the wrong places and despairing that we can find it. But the significance of spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ is that we can mature spiritually under His parenting and receive healing compensation for these childhood deprivations. Three emotions that often grow all out of proportion in the emotionally deprived child are fear, guilt and anger. The fear grows out of the child's awareness of the uncontrollable nature of her fearful environment, of overwhelming negative forces around her. Her guilt, her profound feelings of inadequacy, intensify when she is unable to put right what is wrong, either in the environment or in another person, no matter how hard she tries to be good. If only she could try harder or be better, she could correct what is wrong, she thinks. She may carry this guilt all her life, not knowing where it comes from, but just always feeling guilty. She often feels too sorry for something she has done that was really not all that serious. Her anger comes from her frustration, perceived deprivation and the resultant self-pity. She has picked up an anger habit and doesn't know how much trouble it is causing her. A fourth problem often follows in the wake of the big three: the need to control others and manipulate events in order to feel secure in her own world, to hold her world together- to make happen what she wants to happen. She thinks she has to run everything. She may enter adulthood with an illusion of power and a sense of authority to put other people right, though she has had little success with it. She thinks that all she has to do is try harder, be worthier and then she can change, perfect and save other people. But she is in the dark about what really needs changing.I thought I would drown in guilt and wanted to fix all the people that I had affected so negatively. But I learned that I had to focus on getting well and leave off trying to cure anyone around me. Many of those around - might indeed get better too, since we seldom see how much we are a key part of a negative relationship pattern. I have learned it is a true principle that I need to fix myself before I can begin to be truly helpful to anyone else. I used to think that if I were worthy enough and worked hard enough and exercised enough anxiety (which is not the same thing as faith), I could change anything. My power and my control are illusions. To survive emotionally, I have to turn my life over to the care of that tender Heavenly Father who was really in charge. It is my own spiritual superficiality that makes me sick and that only profound repentance, that real change of heart, would ultimately heal me. My Savior is much closer than I imagine and is willing to take over the direction of my life: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me, ye can do nothing. (John 15:5). As old foundations crumble, we feel terribly vulnerable. Humility, prayer and flexibility are the keys to passing through this corridor of healthy change while we experiment with truer ways of dealing with life. Godly knowledge, lovingly imparted, begins deep healing, gives tools to live by and new ways to understand the gospel.
M. Catherine Thomas