Monday, December 8, 2014

Voices From The Past 3: Searching for the Holy Grail

My son was born in 1998.  I found parenthood an initially terrifying experience.  Like many you're bringing a new life into a world, that you have to admit "you don't really understand at times".  Having the next generation in your hands brings that into focus - at some point ideally you'd like to help this new life deal with the world as well, if not better than you do.

Over years I would call this quest for understanding by several names.  One I've come to like is "pathfinding", but back in this initial entry, I found that "the search for the Holy Grail" seemed best ...

The Search For The Holy Grail [1998]

This is a beginning, and as I write these words they pass on into history.  This is the way of things.

This is a book about the quest for a Holy Grail, in this case not the cup of Christ, but the quest for a truth which grips and defines our lives.  It is a record of my thoughts and feeling laid out on paper, not just for myself but for my son and any other children to come.

Our Family Motto  [1998]

Our family motto is this,

Nothing of steel is made without fire
And the trials of life are the flames 
from which we draw strength

Life can be full of hardships and difficulties - all too often they seem overwhelming.

Unfortunately life does not seem to be about finding a calm idyllic life, but instead dealing with one obstacle after another, and it's easy to lose faith and hope.

In facing each obstacle, you can find within yourself new abilities to cope with.  Abilities that you're not even yet aware of.  These challenges make us stronger people.  Hence challenges can make us stronger people.

From the day we're born, life is full of difficult things to learn - if we gave up after the odd failure we'd never walk, talk, or learn to read.  But as adults we forget how hard the learning process can be and get to fear failure.  [Interestingly I wrote something similar 12 year laters]

Never lose hope.  Burn our motto into our hearts when things look hardest.

Looking back  [2001]

I have found this book after having lost it since we moved from Portland.  Rereading it, I found myself thinking "wow - it really resonates with the choices I have made in the last few years.

Recently I have found myself "pathfinding", searching for my unique spiritual and mental path in life against the needs of day-to-day life.

Of course for me, rereading this is a weird feeling, and gosh (did I ever used to say "gosh"?) do I wish I could transfer my knowledge now to the guy who wrote that first page.

But you cannot pass knowledge back in time - only forward, and that is the aim of my writing ...

The Two Forces [2001]

Our life is gripped by two great forces which while balanced give us life and health.  They are known to us as renewal and decay.

The force of decay is constant and unfaltering and come from outside.

The force of renewal is generated from within - from our heart, our mind, our body.  One day it will fail and we will surrender to decay.  But for today, it is enough.

A few years ago I saw a dead mouse on the way to University.  Each day I passed it, it was a little more decayed than the one before.

I realised the that the mouse not not decaying because it was dead.  Every day of it's life it was decaying.  But at the same rate it's body was also renewing what was lost to decay.

When it died there was no more renewal, and only decay remained.

So?  Nothing is static, everything changes.  That's part of the trick of life - things that do seem static are in a state of static equilibrium (where two opposite forces are producing no net effect) or decaying at a very slow rate (mountains erode but over thousands of years).

In relationships particularly we can think that once we are married it becomes a static thing that will last.  No!  To maintain a relationship even after marriage we still need to put in energy, time and love to keep it alive.

Of course we should not be afraid of letting it evolve - as long as we are not letting it just decay ...

My grandmother who died this year kept a journal for years, which my mother is inheriting.  I know for myself, I'm not ready to read them yet, her loss is too recent.  But I hope one day I will.  With Violet, I have found her occasional writing, and it's a bittersweet affair to remember her words and thoughts.


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