In the summer of 1982 I wrote these words:
We are bodies with some pleasure and pain, we toil for our gain. We are bodies with souls for a brain.
At the time I was 19 and for whatever reason have been thinking of this lately.
Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 3 that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.”
In his book, New Seeds of Contemplation, the radical monk Thomas Merton writes, “Every moment and every event in every person’s life on earth plants something in their soul” (edited to make it gender-neutral).
Nearly 40 years after writing the aforementioned words I am still not entirely sure what I meant other than to question.
Question life; our very existence.
What is a life, I wondered then just as I do now?
Is it simply a series of events strung together one after another, walking ourselves from womb-to-grave, or is it something more? I like to think the latter. That everything we do and think changes us and those around us. That each moment does plant something in us.
But at the same time we have a choice. We can choose our thoughts and actions. To paraphrase one of my favorite parables—The Parable of the Sower—we have a choice where the seed is planted...in a shallow, rocky place where it will not take hold, or deep within good soil, the soil of our heart, our very soul, where it will blossom and multiply.
In some ways this can be likened to a withered weed which at first glance may seem devoid of life, but in fact is life itself and about to seed, to spread and multiply the following season.
So the question I have for myself and others (but mostly to myself) is this. If this is true—that we have a choice in how we can affect ourselves and others, in essence affect the world around us with our thoughts and actions—where will the seeds in your life be sown? On shallow, rocky soil or deep within the good of your heart?
And this is what I contemplated this morning as I walked slowly home from a coffee shop—conscious of every gingerly laid step because of an aching back—and saw a withered weed about to seed.