Wednesday, August 20, 2008


from lamb...

"Lao-tzu built this wall," Josh said.

"The old master who wrote the Tao? I don't think so."

"What does the Tao value above all else?"

"Compassion? Those other two jewel things?"

"No, inaction. Contemplation. Steadiness. Conservatism. A wall is the defense of a country that values inaction. But a wall imprisons the people of a country as much as it protects them. That's why Balthasar had us go this way. He wanted me to see the error in the Tao. One can't be free without action."

"So he spent all that time teaching us the Tao so we could see that it was wrong."

"No, not wrong. Not all of it. The compassion, humility, and moderation of the Tao, these are the qualities of a righteous man, but not inaction. These people are slaves to inaction."

"You worked as a stonecutter, Josh," I said, nodding toward the massive wall. "You think this massive wall was built through inaction?"

"The magus wasn't teaching us about action as in work, it was action as in change. That's why we learned Confucius first--everything having to do with the order of our fathers, the law, manners. Confucius is like the Torah, rules to follow. And Lao-tzu is even more conservative, saying that if you do nothing you won't break any rules. You have to let tradition fall sometimes, you have to take action, you have to eat bacon. That's what Balthasar was trying to teach me."

"I've said it before, Josh--and you know how I love bacon--but I don't think bacon is enough for the Messiah to bring."

"Change," Joshua said. "A Messiah has to bring change. Change comes through action. Balthasar once said to me, 'There's no such thing as a conservative hero.' He was wise, that old man."

"Screw it," I said. "This is going to take forever. How long can it be? Let's go around."

i read this passage to a friend last night. she's made a lot of changes in her life. and i don't think that has to be a bad thing. but i think ignoring those changes is kind of dangerous. it was funny that while we were talking, this passage came to my mind. one line leaves off, the next comes along and keeps carrying things forward, and the circle keeps being made...

a quick story from yesterday... i was eating an ice cream bar. it might have been my fourth ice cream bar, but it was still a moment for me...i was enjoying it. until my five year old called my name from the bathroom. and i was kind of annoyed. because my name, called by that particular child, from that particular room, means one thing...i need to go wipe his butt. and while i can easily accept that parenting has it's dirtier moments and while i usually have no problem helping him with this little hygiene issue, i was peeved he'd ask me to do it while i was eating ice cream...i mean, come nothing sacred?

so i went and did it. i wasn't exactly kind about it. i mean, i didn't hurt him or anything...geez, that sounds horrid...but i didn't conceal my peeved-ness. so he pulls up his pants, flushes, whatever he does after i take care of the dirty stuff. and i go sit down to finish the last couple of bites of ice cream. and then he walks in the dining room, sees my empty ice cream stick, and says,

"mom, can i throw that away for you?"

it was one of those humbling, here's a gift, please see it kind of moments... yeah, sometimes i struggle with what is asked of me. i have a ton of reasons, whines, and complaints about being only human, having my own needs, having so many responsibilities, etc... but when my eyes are open, when i am not blocking it out, when i am not minimizing or ignoring or bitching too much...well, and i guess even sometimes when i am...i see how much i am given...the many sweet gifts i receive. and i am grateful.


JO said...

I feel so influential...two of my friends are reading Lamb right now. :)

earthmama said...

because you ARE sure to use your powers for good, friend... :)