Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And you've got a job...

Cold Mountain (1)
A while ago, I read a book called Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. You might be more familiar with the movie with Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, which was a fairly good rendition of the novel. It touches on the lives of a handful of people living through the era of the Civil War, and how it affects their lives. I re-watched the movie a few days ago, and there's a particular quote that struck me, as it has every time I've read or watched it.
"See, I think there's a plan. There's a design for each and every one of us. You look at nature. Bird flies somewhere, picks up a seed, shits the seed out, plant grows. Bird's got a job, shit's got a job, seed's got a job. And you've got a job."     -- Maddy (the goat lady)

In one crude sentence, Maddy manages to sum up LIFE.  Every single thing in life has a purpose, has its part in the plan. We might not like bugs or spiders, but they do a job. I know I don't particularly like maggots, but they also have a job. Some people dislike mice or rats, yet even they have a job. And you've got a job.

Birds flying in Sacramento (2)
Sometimes, our job is to be like the bird. We eat, we fly, we go about our day largely unaware of the world around us except where it affects us directly. We're free, happy, and yet sort of ignorant, too.

Other times, our job is to be like the shit. Our purpose is to fertilize, to keep warm, to provide the means of life to another thing in a very impersonal manner which we're not directly connected to. Our existence seems to reduce down to not much more than being there.

Then there are the moments when we're like the seed and resulting plant. Everything is going our way, and we're full of potential and glowing with life. Others have given us the means to get where we need to be and to put down the roots that will allow us to be big and strong and healthy.

Life and age of women (3)
During our lives, we go through all these stages and more. Often we don't want to be in whatever stage we happen to be in. We complain. We grouse. We rebel and try to be something we're not meant to be, at that moment. When we fight that, when we struggle against the inevitability of life, we hurt ourselves. In the process, we sometimes hurt others in our lives, too. This isn't to say we should lay down and die or accept things blindly, but that we should do our best to work patiently within the confines we're given.

Perhaps now is a time when we need to practice just ... being. Be a bird. Be a pile of shit. Be a seed. It's okay. Be yourself, knowing that "yourself" will change over time!

 

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1) Image by Ken Thomas / Wikimedia Commons
2) Image by Brocken Inaglory / Wikimedia Commons
3) Image by James Baillie / Wikimedia Commons

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