The More Things Stay the Same

I was re-visiting a 25 year old poem I wrote and was intrigued by how those words have, for me at least, stood the test of time.

The poem is called Two Things and begins:

Two things I have learnt in life, I wish we all could be.
To neither desire untold riches, or the dearth of poverty.

Who wouldn’t want to be rich? Yet, we’ve all heard stories of the “relatives” showing up as soon as someone comes into a great deal of money. For example, consider the instant millionaires created by government lotteries. I almost feel sorry for them. Now that they’re rich, they’ve a hard time measuring people’s true motives in being with them?

On the other hand, who can say that they want to live in abject poverty?

With no loving in our souls and no money in our coats / You can’t say were satisfied” – Angie by the Rolling Stones.

My father-in-law’s homespun philosophy was one that showed true understanding: a person can only wear on one pair of pants at a time … can only eat three meals a day. As The Band sang in The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, “Take what you need and leave the rest.”

But rather to be content, with what’s right for us today.
And learn to share, in every possible way.

There’s a big difference between wants and needs; and when we really look at it, most of us want a great deal more than we need.

“Only a life lived for others, is the life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

For who needs a God, when we have our hearts content?
Yet who do we blame when we can’t pay the rent?

It’s easy to find “believers” when times are tough… not so much when life’s sailing along nicely. I’m reminded that gratitude still takes perspective and perseverance.

“Do you ever wonder just what God requires? / You think He’s just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.” – When You Gonna Wake Up? by Bob Dylan

And both lead to vanity with the lies we say,
Where our lives are so dark by night or day.

When we have no purpose in our lives – except just to serve ourselves – we lose that light from within… defining our humanity.

“You remember only about the brass ring/ You forget all about the golden rule” –Gonna Change My Way of Thinking by Bob Dylan

But tomorrow’s a new day, and may it always be.
Thank God for that; it will set us free!

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley

There are many reasons to justify our inaction… until we compare our situation to others: those with less, but who give more. Why? Can they better relate to the plight of others? Or, as Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Victor Frankl said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

Fred Parry
www.fredparry.ca      July 2014

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