Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Life Is Full Of Manure

I always try to be honest in my writing, at least as honest as I can be without hurting anyone’s feelings.  The stories I tell are true and I believe in the things I write about.  I do try to practice what I preach.  However, the values and ideas that I write about do not come easily to me.  I struggle as much as anyone.  Some days my goals are no more lofty than just getting through the day and getting back home.  I am not always living in the Zen aura that some people imagine surrounds my being.  Some days I am tired and tired of it.  Some days I am bored.  Some days I am just trying to fill an emptiness that is real or imagined.  Thinking of this reminded me of my distant past.  When I was a very young novice monk living in a monastery one of the older monks caught me reading “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross”.  John of the Cross was a 16th century Spanish mystic.  The older monk looked at me and said, “Brother Dominic, you can learn more about spirituality by working in the cow barn”.  Let me tell you something about dairy cows.  They generate a lot more than milk.  I did end up working in the cow barn and I learned a lot from the experience.  Life can often feel like you are working in a cow barn all the time.  Life is full of manure.  The cow barn, however, was also full of life.  Often in life we get overwhelmed with the manure and we think that’s all there is.  Manure, however, is also fertilizer.  At the monastery we gathered the manure and spread it in the surrounding fields.  When these fields were ready to be harvested, they were a thing of beauty.  There are days when my Zen aura is replaced with the aroma of manure, but it’s all part of the cycle of life.  Life can be beautiful and meaningful even when you’re standing in manure.     

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