Sunday, March 22, 2009


Several years ago, when I lived in Orlando, I went to a symposium on the Ancient World at the local college.  I ran into someone who I loosely knew through the community and we made small talk before the panel discussions and lectures began.  It was awkward and we only sat next to each other out of civility (and the fact that I knew her sons).  

I can't remember exactly what the panel was discussing, but it was probably about how modern life is much like life in the ancient world.  They opened the floor for comments and someone addressed the issue of ritual sacrifice.  Almost instantly, the woman I was sitting next to shot up and said, "It's WRONG!  It's IMMORAL!  It's INHUMANE!  It's DEVIL-WORSHIP in disguise!"  Of course this opened a can of worms and a heated debate followed.  I sat back and quietly watched several members of the audience get into it with different members of the panel.

Yesterday, out of the blue, this woman emails me.  It's been years since I've seen her or her sons.  Apparently, she found me through Facebook.  It was nice to hear from her and catch up on the latest news of her sons.  Without getting too much into her personal business here on my blog, she mentioned that due to the ailing economy, she had to go back to work.  Goodness knows that she's not the only one who has suffered or been forced to give something up to make ends meet.

What struck me was that we have all had to give things up at one point another.  We have all had to make sacrifices.  The only difference is that instead of regarding them with awe and wonder, we just write it off as doing what we've got to do to survive.  People can give up whole entire parts of their life and pieces of who they are in the name of necessity without a single backwards glance.  Now, that's inhumane.

I think it's important to cherish who we are and realize that when we do indeed need to make sacrifices, it's so that another part of our lives can flourish.  When we do this, we enter into an ancient and primal dance – giving to receive.  A death for a life.  I like the idea of being reverent in mundane matters – of giving thanks and praise to the everyday rituals of our lives.  This gives me solace; knowing that all the little sacrifices will enable a bigger picture, one where we are free to follow our bliss.


SummersStudio said...

Well said. I couldn't agree more.

Nicki said...

Hey, it is good to listen to those thoughts. I have been thinking about this a lot lately - you know. And even though we know this is the circle of life, we are suffering from giving up instead of looking forward to new worlds.

Melissa J. Lee said...

It's a sad fact that I am a born pessimist - the glass is always half empty. I love seeing the world through your eyes, here. Lending dignity and giving respect to the mundane matters of life is a special kind of sorcery. Thank you.

Andrew Thornton said...

This post has stirred up quite a bit of attention. Though most of it has appeared via email and not as comments.

I can understand why since it could be a very sensitive issue.

In any event, I believe that people can either give into their situation with hopelessness and despair, or really embrace their circumstances with hope. Some may argue that the difference is all in semantics, but I think there's a very definitive line drawn between the two. I also think that hope isn't blind foolishness. It can be tempered with reality. It's not some wild abandon of reason. We, each have choice... to honor our decisions or make them out of reflex.