Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finding Your Style

I love today's reading from the Tao.

An old man sits on a granite step.
He plucks a treasured guitar.
The strings throb with feeling;
He needs no audience to open his heart.
A boy enthusiastically wants to learn his style.
"Style"? asks the man slowly. "My style is made of the long road of life, of heartbreak and joy, of people loved, and loneliness. It is made of war and its atrocities. It is made of a baby born, of burying parents and friends. My scale is the seven stars of the dipper, the hollow of my guitar is the space between heaven and earth. How can I show you my style? You have your own young life".

The commentary for today's reading says "Everyone has their own style in life. The old have perspective. The young has vigor. We can learn from each other but we cannot have what the other generations possess. We are each shaped by our generations and to transcend the limitations of our time is a rare occurrence indeed".

Brian Wilson, the creative force behind the Beach Boys and such classic albums as "Pet Sounds" once wrote a song entitled "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times". All of us have probably thought at one time or another that we were born at the wrong time in history or we have daydreamed about living in a different time. We reminisce about the past and imagine that life was simpler and less complex. Perhaps we dream of a future when today's trials and tribulations are behind us and we can finally relax. I think I was born at exactly the right time for me to live. My life has been shaped by the history that has unfolded since that early spring day when I was born in 1951. My childhood was spent in a time of peace and prosperity. I came of age in the turbulent 60's when much of society was turned upside down and many cultural changes occurred. In each subsequent decade of my life I have continued to be shaped and molded by the events happening to me and around me. I am a man of my time. Like the old man in today's reading from the Tao, my "style" has been shaped so far by a journey of nearly 60 years of living in the eternal now. I have experienced heartbreak, love, pain, and joy. I have been lonely. My youth was full of the news of the Vietnam War. Today it is war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have watched my children being born and I have buried three parents. I have sat in wonder and contemplation under the stars, I have watched the sun rise and set, and I have met the challenges of daily living. I have lived in faith and I have experienced doubt. All of this has made me who I am and it has created that unique style that is me. I was made for these times. I am exactly where and when I should be. How about you?

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