This Journal entry is a sort of an extension of the Parenting entries. This composition is one I might have been able to write back in May of 1969 for my high school senior Religion thesis. However, if I had been able to write this story back in 1969 (highly unlikely), then I may have obviated the need for some of the dynamic elements of my particular process of discovery. Please read on.
The Essenes say that we come to this world to learn of a Love that is only possible in this world. The Essenes also said that this Love that we humans can learn here is greater than the Love of Angels.
That previous sentence could have been concluded with an exclamation point, but I did not want to trivialize the concept by suggesting or forcing a feeling of astonishment into the reader’s mind. That is what this paragraph is for! The concept of such a completely evolved human Love, on this planet, in these bodies, is a mystery and a wonder, to be sure. Beings like Christ have been here amongst us to show us this Way. There have been many who have ascended to this level of Love. These people, know them as you may, are our role models.
This Journal entry is a little story from my life, and my present day understanding of one interpretation of a time in my youth. It is a little story about where the rubber met the road.
I went away to a military school high school when I was a 15 year old youth. When I entered my first classes there I was treated to an unusual form of study by one particular teacher. I now believe that this kind of contemplative and practical study of Truth and mystery should be a mainstream inclusion and progressive study in every form of matriculation.
My Military School Beginnings, and Beyond
I left Montgomery, Alabama, in August of 1966 to make a 5-6 hour drive northeast to a mountain top school founded in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1868, as Sewanee Military Academy, an understudy (preschool) to its larger mother institution known as The University of the South. This 4 year college was patterned after Oxford, down to the building’s stones, and even the gowns worn by faculty, as well as the students who were in The Order of Gownsmen.
The University was founded by the then 13 southern Episcopal dioceses to educate southern men. Now women and men from all over the Globe Gaia arrive at the mountain top. The University of the South is perennially ranked in the top 30 of private colleges. It’s a great place, and a great institution. Adjectives to describe this place do not suffice. You can go and see for yourself.
After attending the military high school school at Sewanee, I decided to stay in the relative comfort zone of Sewanee, and so I attended the University of the South from 1969-1971. In my first year there I recognized that I was actually in a discomfort zone because of my unwinding personal life growth identity issues. As a sophomore in college I began to recreate a prior pattern of achieving which I had practiced in my military high school days. Upon earning some varsity letters in soccer, and a Gown from The Order of Gownsmen to wear with my letter sweater, I began to wonder, “What’s next?”
Overachievement is workaholism, and is a type of panacea used to placate a troubled and restless Heart. In those days, there was no creative psychological help, or, should I say, if it was present, I missed it. Psycho-babble had not yet appeared on the social consciousness scene, nor had any New Age idealism popped up to let me know that I was actually following a normal unfolding, all things considered. I was on my own to ferret through a psychospiritual depression.
And so, after 5 years, I left the mountain, with my baggage, and arrived in Memphis to attend Rhodes College (formerly Southwestern at Memphis), a school very similar to Sewanee, and is often perenially ranked higher than Sewanee, especially in the sciences. I improved my attittude and disposition enough to sense the tangibles and intangibles of a long journey which lay ahead.
I garnered up the available and leftover power pieces learned in my military high school chapter, put more rubber to road, and went off to New Orleans to attend Tulane University Medical School. That is where I learned the fine art of giving my professors fits. I really didn’t mean to be yanking their chains, but….,I felt compelled to express my individuality…., at times. Depression is simply repressed shadow anger, and anger can be de-repressed and channeled in a variety of creative ways
I had left my college funk behind, for the most part. Let’s just say that I was managing it well enough on my own to motor through medical school, and the more arduous years of surgical residency. I still needed some amount of pain body to learn from, you see. In consideration of my patterns of Learned Distress, as discussed in “Parenting, Parts II and III”, for me to have such a pain body to chew on, is natural. This type of realization, that I was living through natural consequences of earlier difficult life growth periods took multiple decades to figure out.
The high school, Sewanee Military Academy, known as SMA, is where I began my time in a beautiful setting on the top of the Cumberland Plateau in southeast Tennessee. My wife, Jean Ann (aka No Nonsense), has mentioned on several occasions that if she ever is reincarnated here again, that she wants to be a student at Sewanee. I would not mind going back either. Maybe they take older students for special courses. Maybe I can earn a degree from my favorite school.
When I went to SMA I made it a point to excel in every dimension of life that I could engage with; academic, military, athletic, school organizations, staying out of trouble, keeping good company, and being a relatively tolerable “yes man.” I pretty much had nailed it all down by the time I left there, and I came away with enough of a knowing and a momentum that I understood how to more easily navigate my way through college, medical school, surgical residency training, and a busy 20 year practice of general, vascular, and trauma surgery.
Along the way, I parented 2 of my own sons, and I assisted in parenting my step son and step daughter. The parenting role is my key to my current view of my life. As I have offered in the last entries on “Parenting, Parts I, II, and III”, parenting begins inside of self, and then extends out to children, relationships, and to our world at large.
This warrior stage momentum started to change and soften up in my middle years as my sons grew. They went through their high school, college, and post graduate schooling also. My years of the push began to slow to a more relaxed and gentle manner of assisting my life and the lives of others. In 2001 I followed a Heart based message and pull to do something which is a natural extension and consolidation from these earlier chapters of my life.
In November, 2001, I retired from this fortunate run of learning and endeavor, and I altered the way I write the chapters of my life. I started writing the Haelan LifeStream chapter, which is about healing in body, mind, emotion, and spirit through an exploration of these 4 facets of our Being via a deeper consideration of Heart based consciousness.
I had learned in my travels about the multidimensional functions of the Heart, or, what the neuromuscular Heart is doing from beat to beat besides pumping the blood around. These studies came from a consideration of the teachings of numerous Eastern spiritual paths, Christian mysticism, Kabbalism, martial arts, and new Western based science about the Heart’s role as a 7 layered liquid crystal oscillator, projecting inside of our bodies and outside as a toroidal field emanation. The Heart emits a profound energetic information stream to our cells, and into the quantum hologram. I began to talk with surgical patients, and subsequent Haelan LifeStream clients about these considerations, and implications.
Being Faint, but not Faint of Heart
Before I write about the special teacher which I referenced above, I would like to insert a short description of an early formative event at SMA which occured in the first parade formation I ever participated in on a hot sweltering September afternoon in 1966. I was the fourth member of the third squad of the first platoon of Company C in the battalion of young southern gentlemen known as the SMA Corps of Cadets.
It was mighty hot that afternoon and we were standing on an incline, facing up the incline. I had not yet learned the parade trick of flexing one’s knees when standing at attention. However, my shoes were spit-shined, and my first year student’s chin was pulled into my cervical spine; a type of anatomical maladjustment which all cadets learned to endure.
Well, my knees were locked (not good), and the expected physiologic cascade quickly developed: the venous blood return to my heart diminished, my brain began to go off line, my visual perception turned to a lighter shade of pale, and so did the color of my face, I was told. I was going down. Gravity and degrees of cerebral hypoxia made for a formative afternoon.
I was escorted (handled) by some cadet comrades to lie underneath that wonderful shady tree, where I regained consciousness. Upon completion of the ceremony, I was escorted into the office of one Staff Sergeant Henry Reese for a lecture which helped alter and evolve aspects of my life. His lecture was one sentence long, and I will never forget it.
Sgt. Reese was SMA’s Supply Sergeant, and he was in charge of the Armory and all of the military equipment.
Now, Sgt. Henry Reese looked to be about in his late 40’s or early 50’s. He had a long gawky frame, long thin limbs, a slender face with a narrow long nose, and an exceptional set of wing-nut ears. I, standing before him after my near out of body experience, can now render an easy allusion that I had been transported into the cinder block walled sanctuary of an other worldly being. He was an exceptionally unique looking individual. I now say that he was rather beautiful. The retrospectoscope of Love is a wonderful lens to use in one’s travels, especially when we are recollecting important memories.
I recollect a especially memorable mixture of feeling, emotional, and thought states in his presence.
First, this situation was laughable, and the transient thought of laughter did actually cross my mind, ever so briefly, in consideration of my condition, and the apppearance of who I stood before. The faint impulse to giggle passed quickly. Under the inquistion like conditions I found myself in, I thought it best to take on a serious countenance, banish my usual tendency for mischief in any form, and humbly await the Staff Sergeant’s words of….. wisdom.
Perhaps to my credit, I also recall feeling a real compassion and sympathy while observing Sergeant Reese and Cadet Private Day. It was as if an ancient universal human technology, one that we all possess, was awakened from inside of my core, right into and out of my DNA. His physical appearance, facial mannerisms, voice quality, and some surreal corporeal awareness inside of my recovering body allowed me to empathize with both him and me as if we were one entity going through the same experience. This consciousness state was a first.
Did the Armory Sergeant and I create some unique field of knowing, heretofore not visited in my prior days of mischief and boyish adventures? Something was diffferent, for sure, and so I prepared myself to become receptive, curious, and flexible. I think that is how I navigated the SMA chapter of my life from that point on, for the most part, especially that first year there.
He had to do his duty, you know…. I was pretty familiar, by this time in my life, with adults who were driven to masquerade with these rough and tough love macho style mandates when the tutelage chips were down on the table after some perceived behavioral screw up. My screw up had something to do with degrees of knee flexion vs. extension, and gravity’s command over the physiological results of insufficient blood flow. There were other cadets who fainted that afternoon, but, no matter. My fainting event seemed to be more special than their’s.
I was just a 15 year old yes man teenager, fresh out of Alabama, where I had been receiving a variety of mythological indoctrinations about life. I was also used to condescending adult admonisments, and I understood the value of “Yes Sir” and “Yes Ma’am” and the “No Sir, No Ma’am” counterparts. Staff Sergeant Henry Reese should prove to be relatively easy. I wondered what he would say….
He peered at me from behind his desk, gazing at my skinny diaphoretic form, and put me from the stance of “attention” to the stance of “stand at ease.” His voice was firm, and was measured with more than enough of a demeaning quality to let me know that I had ventured out of the bounds of good soldiering.
He remarked with volume, but rather calmly, “You need to work yourself out of this puny condition.”
That was it.
“You need to work yourself out of this puny condition.”
Make no mistake, he intended to embarrass me a bit more than the fainting spell had, you know, like striking while the iron is hot, but in my case the pulse was, well, cool and puny. Nonetheless, I whole heartedly “yessir-ed!!” this amazingly novel health concept (because I knew he was right), immediately imprinted the necessary willpower to acheive such a mandate within my quavering foundational core, and was dismissed back to my dormitory barracks, probably for another round of hazing from the upperclassmen. No problem.
Given my first fainting experience and the autonomic nervous system cacophony that accompanies such physiological fall-out, given my intriguing mixtures of emotions and feelings, and given my new thought mandate to work myself out of this puny condition—- everything else that happened in my SMA chapter after that unique right-of-passage initiation was relatively easy, thought I, as long as I remembered the Armory Sergeant’s marching orders. I was tested along my way on many occasions. I passed most of the challenges, but not all. It is important to me that I tried, practicing onward in the face of perceived failures.
The hazing was a guaranteed daily event, but it was to become a breeze. My favorite hazing masochism memories are from the 3 meal events of the day. The cadet corps marched and crowded into a cramped refectory for our meals. The first year cadets sat down, 8 new guys per table, to eat in the refectory with at least 2 upperclassmen ruling and seated at both ends of the table. The relatively small room where we ate was actually the bottom level room of the gloomy Quintard Hall dormitory. There was barely walking room between tables for a single person to pass. This made for physical boundary and noise compression features in the refectory which added to the delight of the challenge.
There were special rules of engagement regarding the food supply on the table top, the manner of how the new cadet was to request the food, the position of sitting at attention when requesting the food, and yes, there was the issue of the quality of the food itself. After all, nutrition of the physical matrix must be considered as a primary necessity in the manifestation of my new “out of puny” mandate.
Fortunately, I liked to eat all food: canned, fresh, sugared, trans fatted, cooked to oblivion, cooked to precarcinogenic (this data was forthcoming in the 1980’s-90’s) chemical levels, cooked to perfection, and anywhere in between any perceivable extreme of SMA culinary excellance. Our head chef was a sizable black man named Tipp. He was revered and adored by all because he was a real human being who smiled generously, and he fed us 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. I recall it as being pretty good food.
These days, one of my friends calls me Mr. Hungry. My appetite has not abated, only altered to finer selections. The Tipp types in my life are still around. Sometimes I try to be a Tipp for others.
Fortunately, I escaped SMA without an eating disorder. Eating disorders were not in vogue in those days.
Fascinating, was this particular year in my long history of food enjoyment. The other forms of hazing were equally fascinating and resplendent. It is more grist for another mill….
Sergeant Henry Reese is one of those rare people in my life who gave me one precious order, and fortunately, I listened to him, and fortunately, I integrated his directive. Perhaps the vaso-vagal physiological experience, and the force of gravity, served to put me in a receptive mood, and conjure up the requisite emotional technology.
One needs a strong body, a refined and directed mind, a clarified emotional make-up, an abiding awareness of spirit, and a Heart to drive it all. Over my years, I was allowed to understand the integration of these common aspects of our Being, and this practice continues. I have also had more run ins with gravity, but of a different sort, and educational also.
Armory Sergeant Henry Reese actually has a big hand in my journey. Interestingly, I had no further contact with him while I was at SMA.
Henry Reese, wherever you are, you ought to see me now. I think of you quite often. I have not forgotten your words, but I have forgotten (discarded) the words of many others. Thank you for making your delivery short and succinct. You were perfect for me. I am still on the case, and consider your kind advice and mandate as an ongoing and necessary work in progress.
Evidence of Haelan LifeStream Origins at SMA
The current Haelan LifeStream chapter of my life actually has its inception back in the English class of my sophomore year at SMA under the tutelage of Charles William “Bill” Goldfinch, M.A., who we just called “Captain” which was then abbreviated and enunciated as “Cap’m.” He could have been a former Captain in the US Army, and found himself teaching English at a military school. I am not informed about his past.
A number of the teachers there were somehow formerly associated with the military, especially the military drill teachers and our good old Commandant. My favorite military man was Sergeant Major Raymond Diggs. He actually smiled like he kind of “got it.” He had a degree of channeled and directed mischief in him which I found intriguing. He could also bark, and bite, but he rarely needed to bite.
Our English teacher, Bill Goldfinch, started something inside of me which fortunately continued to germinate throughout my life, albeit slowly. One only needs to tend the Garden of Self Love from time to time, pulling some weeds, and lending some other gardening skills to assist the maturation. And, of course, one must banish the puny aspects, as they are types of weeds.
Cap’m’s sophomore English class was the most unique classroom activity that I have ever engaged in, and it was usually a lot of fun, especially when he would get worked up and impassioned about his mission to teach us something unique. It is the only class I can think of in all of my schooling that I wish I could take over again. I truly mean this. Just this one class….to relive what he was offering to us bunch of adolescents! To come back and know the thing again!
The class would be so much more meaningful now that I have bitten so deeply into life and some of the best that life has to offer. But that is not the way life works, is it?
We just have Now.
I received the highest marks regarding my schooling on the regular stuff that young southern gentlemen were supposed to digest in high school sophomore English class. However, at the time, I really didn’t get the full picture of what Cap’m was offering us, and trying to help us understand in this other special side-stream course which he skillfully wove into the main and mundane curriculum stuff.
On the other hand, I never forgot about what the subject is that he was trying to help us contemplate and understand, and so, in my long run, his teaching was a big success in my life. I still contemplate his favorite teaching, the one he harped on in every class.
To give us a palpable kinesthetic dimension of this teaching, he would give us all 3 pieces of hard round 1/2 inch rock candy, which came in an assortment of colors, and flavors. We received these balls of candy at every class, and happily sucked away as children like to do when they have candy in their mouths. The candy represented something special, and it had a special name. He had hoards of it, as he taught many students.
He called the candy Agape’.
This Greek word is pronounced in 3 syllables, just so you don’t goof it up in case you have not heard of the term, and it has heretofore eluded your lexicon of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. You can phonetically pronounce it as “ah-gah-pay.” I have heard people enunciate the strong accent on any of syllables. Very well…, now, say it faster, and there you have it—agape’.
There is also the 2 syllable word agape, which means “wide open.” The 3 syllable enunciation of agape’ is also wide open, but it is about being wide open in the arena of the most special type of Love.
Agape’ is about an ineffable condition of revelation and reverence, and it is best to just leave it as unconditional love. It is both a feeling, a knowing, and a way of being which one can chose to practice as one writes the chapters of one’s life.
Cap’m tried to assist our adolescent understanding of agape’ by incessantly having us memorize and scrutinize and analyze a New Testament passage from the Bible, I Corinthians 13, the whole chapter. We went over it so frequently that I am quite certain that it is permanently implanted in my sub consciousness in some desirable mystical fashion, and in these days of my life I imagine that the term and the concept is mysteriously busy inside of me; rewriting each of my days; etching, scribing, wiring, and manifesting a more reverently numinous experience. One can only hope.
I consider most aspects of current school teaching in America to be of poor quality, and this teaching is one manner of social malfeasance which is dumbing us down. I believe the comparative data of American scholastics to that of other countries actually supports this consideration, especially in the technologies. Some of our history teaching is patently false, and only serves to keep the masses in a state of ignorance about real history from which discursive examination and debate may produce a more Truth grounded society.
One can only hope. One can also contribute….
If history is not taught in the Truth, then we will live on to recreate chaotic forms of what we were taught that is incorrect. This non-truth is then reinforced and manifests itself as “real history,” but its origins come from distortion. There are many myths that we continue to support, to our own detriment and to the detriment of our home, which I call Globe Gaia.
It is irrelevant that we appear as scholarly. What is important is the Truth, and that we are being offered a sampling of the Truth. I view our current educational system’s handling of history and other important subjects as a Weapon of Mass Distraction, as someone once said to me.
Now, we might wonder here, “Why are we being offered distractions?” Does WMD have anything to do with our crumbling socio-economic system, the military industrial complex, the petro oligarchy who are literally killing life for oil, the banking elitist who support and profit from these 2 entities, the ongoing geopolitical chaos, and the ongoing geophysical decimations?
Wake up America. We have a planet and a humanity to save.
I believe we are not being taught the Truth about many important global subjects in our schools, universities, and from the eggregious sanitized media. Such non truth keeps us enslaved to the machinations of those who foster their lies to serve their power agendas.
More SMA Love Lessons
Cap’m, on the other hand, was trying to offer us some opportunity to consider an ultimate Truth. I was lucky to get in on his last class. The school decision makers let him go at the end of that year. It was all about him giving out candy to students, teaching them ways to consider Love, and…well…being somewhat eccentric. The SMA mainstream could not handle it. This is a classic pattern in our society; to banish the Truth sayers and their attendant personalities.
Two years later, when I was a senior, I was in a “religion” class taught by the school’s Headmaster. This class was utterly and fascinatingly boring to me. We called our Headmaster by the moniker of JR, for those were the first 2 initials in his name. He and I got along fine, actually, because I was a “yes man,” and I consistently scored above 4.0 in a 4.0 grading system. He was probably fooled into a prevaling form of thinking; that I might have a brain.
In those days I had not yet developed a brain. All I had was an instrument that excelled at regurgitating memorized information and formulae, and being in the SMA Cum Laude Society was akin to me faking out somebody to give me that little Cum Laude pin, which I still possess, in a box. Whenever I doubt my thinking, I think of my Cum Laude pin, leave my left brain, and go to my Heart. It usually works out fine if I do that pattern. The trick is to remember to practice this pattern.
It was probably JR who had a good deal to do with putting our dear Cap’m out to some other teaching pasture. We only found out about his loss of his teaching position on graduation day of that spring, and then we all departed to our respective homes on the same day, and so no collective student body grumblings were to be heard therefore. Pretty clever timing of JR and company.
OK, so back to my senior year religion class with JR. I had done about all there was to do at SMA, and it was really a great experience. I had the accolades and I even had my own spacious private room in the Gorgas Hall dormitory, one with its own bathroom and walk-in closet! The year before 2 cadets shared this room. This was a significant luxury which no other cadet had in our barrack dormitories. The other dormitory was Quintard Hall, a unique large dark building which I never lived in during my 3 years at SMA…..whew. Rank does have its privileges.
As for JR’s religion class, I pulled a stinker. It took both my conscious and subconscious mind’s participation. JR gave us our senior thesis assignment to compose an essay on Love.
I did so amidst a rush of senior deadlines of all the organizations I was on. I was multitasking and overachieving all over the place, and I allowed myself to lapse into anger, and then apathy, about JR’s senior thesis request on Love. I found myself with no time, interest, inspiration or fortitude to stoop to JR’s request. I was awash in SMA entanglements to the tune of such a self importance that I had even failed to fertilize my Agape’ seed.
In recollection of the time, I quelled my rebellious feelings long enough to write on a single piece of paper, at the last minute, enough words to fill about 3/4 of the sheet. It came back to me with a big fat “F” written in red, with a big red circle around it, and it was handed back to me with a palpable disdain and irritation.
I perused the paper nonchalantly with an imperceptible supercilious smirk, tucked it away, acted like nothing out of the ordinary had occured, thought back to Cap’m, to Agape’, consciously acknowledged my “failure” in this particular case; that failure being that I knew little about Love because I was too busy being too self important!
My addiction and distraction surfaced; I wanted to get out of JR’s boring Senior Religion class and get back to being self important, back to work on all of my other important school projects. I felt little punitive repercussions of the big fat F. What were they going to do with me at that point anyway—fail me and not let me graduate?
I tucked my Agape’ lapse away for future consideration on another day and in another time in my life. At least I didn’t obliterate it from my consciousness. That is good.
The basic tensional conflict about this Love essay had to do with my perception that Bill Goldfinch was trying to help us understand something in our Hearts about Agape’ while JR requested some understanding about Love from our Brains. I never forgot about this little riddle of Heart Agape’ and Brain Love in my subsequent travels. It would take me some decades to mature the reconciliation. I obviously did not possess the life experiences and insights at the time.
I might mention here that I pulled this same pattern of self importance with some (just a few that I did not like and judged) of my surgery professors later on while in surgery training. I gave some of those teachers fits. I could operate better than them with more facility and breadth, and so I once again allowed my own delusion of self importance to interfere with aspects of teamwork in critical situations. I was in an escalating warrior phase, which, fortunately, does not usually last for one’s entire lifetime.
There may be a consolation for JR and me. After all, we actually had a pretty close relationship in that he respected me, at least up until my F Bomb stinker of a Love essay. It was my second puny moment at SMA, thought I. JR might be pleased to know that I have continued to ponder and update the Love Essay. I do hope I get it right before I leave here; maybe an A+ effort. One can only hope. Thank you JR. You were a good friend all along.
Crestone and Beyond–Words of Love
In consideration of forms of Love on this Valentine’s Day, we can consider the Greek deliniations: 1) Eros, which is erotic or sexual love, 2) Philos, or philanthropic love, and then there is 3) Agape’, or, unconditional love.
We can think of Eros and its many varieties. I shall leave you to ponder how to combine philos and agape’ with your expression of eros. Look at the Taoist and Yogic texts should you want some references. You can use your imagination about loving love making, experiment, or even speak with some self appointed sexologist if you get to the “no dice” point. Understand Unity consciousness, and the sacred aspect of everything that is occuring in your Now.
We can think of philos and its many manifestations. It is about people caring for one another and for all of humanity and our planet home, Globe Gaia. People helping other people is philanthropy, and fortunately, it abounds on the planet. Many forms of philos are what we might call “conditional love” as opposed to unconditional love.
We actually need both conditional and unconditional love in our lives in order to grow correctly.
Conditional love usually comes from parents, family members, teachers, coaches, bosses and other such types of demanding teachers who generally are doing their personal version of pushing us to be our best. The teachers who took you seriously are the mentors who are worth a lot because they see something of worth in you, and they want to see you develop those qualities. They usually practice the “tough” love which is worthy of respect and honor, as long as it is not condescending.
JR gave me an F, as in Failure, on my senior religion class thesis, and this is an example of conditional love. Too bad he threw in the disdain and irritation when he handed my paper back to me. So-who failed? We both floundered, I think, maybe me more than him. Since he probably had Cap’m fired, I wonder how he would have responded to me taking a serious look at Agape’ in my composition?
If love is given too quickly or easily it may assist in turning one into a lazy manipulator instead of one of strength and character. We need conditional love when we are uppity and arrogant, and we need unconditional love when we are searching and self doubting. And so, we really need both forms of love if we are going to thrive.
From our parents and family members and teachers we need something which creates limits and boundaries for us, something to struggle with, and bang into. Then we may go deeper and learn more about our potentials. We require both an acceptance and a conditional demand to assist our learning about our egocentricity process, our inner discipline, our power, and our skill at meeting demands in life.
Without conditional love in the right doses, delivered in the right manner, and delivered at the right time, we usually grow up feeling entitled, narcissistic, self-absorbed, and spoiled. Look around. Look at what is on TV, and what comes out of the entertainment industry. What are they teaching us?
Many aspects of our society continue to teach us to have it fast, and at our whim. This is a type of WMD. To help further our misdirection, financial institutions and the consumerist industry push the plastic credit cards and enslave us with debt, if we let them. More WMD. It plays on itself in a bad fashion. One must define boundaries about these societal delusions and not fall sway.
Well, Charles William Goldfinch passed on a couple of years ago now, on August 31, 2008 in Cambridge, Ontario. He lived to be 87 years. I knew him when he was 45.
When I learned that he had passed to Life after Life, I wrote his wife, Christina, a note of appreciation. I received back from her a loving message and a description of Bill’s Celebration of Life. His ashes were interned at his birthplace in Conway, South Carolina, in April, 2009.
Something Christina may have never seen about Bill was written in the 1967 Saber, which was the SMA yearbook published the year he left SMA. On page 25 is a picture of the 45 year old Bill Goldfinch with a crew cut flat top sort of look, and a gentle smile. He looks much like the picture Christina sent me which was printed in his Celebration of Life announcement. He weathered life well.
These words are printed beside his photograph in the 1967 Saber:
Mr. Charles W. Goldfinch, M.A.
“A man of a high degree of understanding the problems of life, Mr. Goldfinch is known as the cadet’s best friend. Over the years he has helped innumerable cadets solve their problems and continues to think that life is worth living. He is coach of the wrestling team and teaches English. Mr. Goldfinch’s understanding and agreeable personality has given the cadets the strength to face the world and live life for what it is worth.”
Christina, your man gave to who knows how many people a Gift. There is a piece attributed to Emerson, but was probably written by another. Below is a short piece of prose entitled “Success.”
Here’s to Bill Goldfinch, and here’s to the spread of Agape’ in humanity’s consciousness:
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
I am grateful for all of the tough love I was dished out by a wide panorama of fabulous teachers, as well as this early preview of Agape’ that I received by grace from Bill Goldfinch. The English that he taught my fellow students and me was the English of Agape’. I have faltered along the way, but one needs the Fall; it gives the necessary perspective to help one rise up from one’s puny attributes.
Agape’ is a good language to speak, quietly and out loud.
I only know what I know, and I know almost all of that.
May your Valentine’s Day be sweet, and loving.
I wish you the very best that Life and Love have to offer, always….
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond