Musings of a Grizzled Warrior
Article ID: 14450
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,654
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Posted: February 20th. 2011
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I am the center of my universe. This is not to say I am the center of the universe, for in that world, I am but a speck of the corner of a mote in the eye of the Gods! Nevertheless, in my universe, I reign supreme. I have many roles to play in my world… many hats to wear. Some are magnificent and splendorous, others much simpler and less ostentatious. Some are in perfect condition, some in need of various repairs, and yet others still are threadbare, worn and in need of either retirement as nostalgic keepsakes, or outright discarding as needless rubbish.
As center and ruler of my universe, one of those hats is an exceptionally sumptuous High Lord's crown. It sparkles, it shines in veritable luminescence, and it is made of magical precious white gold most definitely passes the "10-foot rule". However, perceptions are not necessarily reality, and even my perceptions can be suspect. The jewels encrusted in this crown are those ethical and moral values that are precious to me and thus held sacrosanct. The issues arise in the realization that I am no jeweler.
To my eye, the sparkling deep cobalt blue sapphires of honour, the blood red rubies of love, the majestic royal purple amethysts of thought and communication, the rich lucent pearls of wisdom, and the hotly sparkling clear diamonds of truth are all very genuine precious stones. The crown itself is also constructed of the purest alloys and functions as the framework upon which these baubles rest and the means of which we attach it to our physical bodies. I would call this the crown of our spirit, our consciousness, our soul, if you will. It rests there atop the physical clay of our persons for all to see. In addition, no matter how hard one may try to enshroud that crown by means of a cloaked subterfuge or attempt to sequester it away behind vaulted triple locked doors of secrecy, glimpses and peeks will reveal that hat for any to see who are actively aware of surroundings beyond the reach of their own nose.
It is only through unbiased, unemotional introspection and discussion with genuinely honest individuals for whom we care and highly regard that those gems can come under exacting scrutiny using a jeweler's loupe. Moreover, it is only through this process by which the difference between authentic gems and mere coloured glass or manufactured synthetic frauds can be determined. When correctly used, this process can discern imperfections and flaws as well. This holds true not only for the precious stones in the crown, but also for the metal of the crown itself. It is how we can determine the alloy content, the homogenous blending of those alloys, the purity of the individual metals, or even if it is strictly cosmetic plating over a base metal.
It takes true courage to honestly assess the value of our crowns of our crowns, for we must overcome the fear of both destroying it, and discovering its value may be far less than what we think or even hope it to be. However, courage is the only currency accepted in this particular market. If you are too frugal with it, all you will be able to hire for the task are sycophants who care more about separating you from your coin while laughing behind their sleeve at a fool as they tell you what you want to hear in hopes of more payment. Nonetheless, what we do with that assessment is entirely up to ourselves. We can use it for our betterment or our detriment.
Many people are sufficiently satisfied knowing they wear a shiny hat with sparkly gems caring not one whit if the materials used are real or frauds; they are just ignorant of such details and content with that superficial knowledge. Some would stop after just such a thorough inventory and evaluation, and marvel at its stated value; having no difficulty in announcing to all who will listen the price tag of their crown and thereby determine their own self-worth in the comparison and contrast of the monetary value with the crowns of those surrounding them. Sadly, this leads to several devastating results. On one end of the spectrum, there is a constant dissatisfaction with what they own and an unfulfilled ravenous desire to out shine those whose crowns have greater value, thus thinking this will make them the superior person. At best, this is the basis for unrequited and unnecessary internal strife. At the other end of the spectrum, this person's personal outlook either sets the stage for covetous behavior, or the attempt, successful or not, to steal or destroy another person's crown.
Then we find yet another category of person. They too take lock, stock, and inventory of their crown, but rather than focus solely on the monetary value of the crown and gems as the end state, they use this value as a measuring device of self-improvement. Their goal is neither to impress themselves, nor those they encounter. Instead of seeking outward approval, they are true connoisseurs and avid collectors with an appreciation to finding beauty and value where and when they may encounter it. What is more paradoxically amusing is, the perfection for which they strive is not incumbent upon a perfectly symmetrical final product that so many may feel is the most aesthetically pleasing to the untrained eye.
The best way to explain this seeming contradiction of terms is to recall the tale of The Perfect Heart. In this analogy, a young man stands before the people of his village boasting how he held before all to see the strongest and most perfect heart. It bore no scars or blemishes and beat with the strength of a Percheron within. All within view gawked in amazement, for their hearts seemed lacking in compare. All, that is, except for an old grizzled man in the back who scoffed at the claim made by the youth. Instead, he countered that his was the more perfect heart by far. Being thus challenged, the youth demanded the old man come forward and put his claim to the test. When the old man came forward, in his hand was a mangled hodge-podge of mismatched pieces, scars, and even gaping holes where pieces were missing.
The youth and all the villagers scornfully laughed at the old man's claim and demanded he retract his obviously false claim, but the old man remained steadfast. With a warm smile and gentle voice he explained the hodge-podge of parts were in reality the portions of other's hearts freely and lovingly given in exchange for pieces of his own heart. The places were parts were missing were places where he had freely given of his own heart, but others failed to reciprocate. And the scars were from times, whether intentionally imposed or not, he suffered and overcame grief and various heartaches he endured through life.
The youth paused for a while as the import of what the old man said began to sink in. As understanding of the lesson he was being taught fully took hold, the young man was moved to tears. He paused, hugged the old man, and then freely tore a piece of his own once-thought perfect heart and offered it in exchange for a part of the old man's. The grizzled elder smiled broadly, accepted the exchange, and they both walked away arm in arm; the youth realizing he was only beginning his quest to create a more perfect heart.
The tools and the understanding are there to be had for any and all who would but reach out and use them. It is how we use them and what we do with that understanding which sets us each on our own respective paths to the betterment or detriment of us all.
Location: Lansing, Kansas
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