Saturday, May 16, 2009
Life's Hidden Streams ... Shared
As I listened to Philip Glass speak (during a PBS presentation of the American Masters Series), of Music as being an ever-present River, that flows beneath our feet … awaiting our willingness to listen … I enjoyed an Awareness of a personal relationship to the Image.
It was in the year 1967, and I (as a 21 year-old new recruit to the Field-Engineering Department, of our local Electric Utility Company), was being introduced to some of the rudiments of our Department’s responsibilities. The Man, taking on this orientation, was a Gentleman who I would come to admire, respect, and, indeed, love, as a Friend, as well as my new Boss. We drove into a housing development under construction … stopped at a freshly paved intersection, amongst bare Lots awaiting their homes-to-be … and alighted from our vehicle.
Lloyd S. Wood (the afore-mentioned ‘Boss’), described how we were to place a wooden stake into the earth, in the exact spot that a construction crew was to install a power pole. He then did something that has stayed with me all of these ensuing years. He removed two lengths of ordinary, copper wire, from the trunk of the car … bent each into an “L” shape … held each in a manner that extended the longer portion of the “L” out in front of him … and commenced walking toward the edge of the right-of-way. The wires began moving. They crossed, into a perfect “X.” Then as he progressed … they returned to their original “straight ahead” placement … all by themselves. Lloyd backed up a step or two. The wires, again, crossed … and then resumed their “straight ahead” pointing, as he proceeded backward. He then turned and said, “Where the wires crossed, is where there are underground pipes or cables. We want to be sure to place the stake, that we drive into the earth, far enough from that “X” point, to ensure that the Crew, drilling the hole for the Pole, will not drill into the buried Utility Cables or Pipes. I was mesmerized.
He then gave the two wires to me, and instructed me in the manner in which they were to be held … I walked (in the same manner that I had just seen him walk) … and ‘Lo and Behold!,’ I experienced the exact same result. On our trip back to the Office, Lloyd told me how he had used that method to locate the best spot for drilling a Well for supplying his home with water. He told me how he had struck an underground stream (located by the “X” method) on the Well-Driller’s first try. “Best water in the neighborhood!” he proudly declared.
Some years later, whilst at an evening’s gathering of Friends, I posed a question, as to the reasons for the “wire crossing” phenomenon, to one of our group. With him being a Engineer (working in the field of nuclear power plant design) I assumed that his training, and education, would equip him to be able to tell me how, and why, it happened. To my surprise, he challenged me with an “Impossible!” declaration. As You can imagine, I asked our host for two, wire, coat-hangers … formed the requisite “L”’s … led a Parade, of all of the attending males, into our Host’s front yard … and … TaaDaa! … demonstrated the location of the buried water pipe, sewer line, and telephone cable. All of these were confirmed by our Host.
This Groups ultimate refusal to allow the simple Reality of what they had experienced with those silly little wires, was brought back to mind when I read of Anthony Campolo’s colleagues’ dismissal of an experience that he related to them. Here they were, hearing from the lips of a renowned Scholar, Scientist, Academician, Teacher, and Peer, the story of his encounter with spiritual happenings, demonstrating a direct influence on the physiological, and totally tangible, Being of a young lad … and they couldn’t bring themselves to accept any of what was offered. Instead, they, as a group, declared that what Campolo had presented was “outside of the bounds of accepted Doctrinal Parameters.” It was Doctor Campolo’s suggestion that perhaps, they might (inasmuch as they all were part of a Body of Scholars, Learners, and Intellectuals, who not only spent their lives teaching and instructing young minds in their particular theological themes … but were intelligent and learned Individuals as well), consider modifying the defining borders of their respective “Boxes of Theological and Doctrinal Parameters, to include irrefutable Truths demonstrated and given in Evidence as newly presented Facts.” Alas, they simply could not (or would not) subject themselves to such an uncomfortable proposition.
While I do, genuinely, respect and accept the rights of All to elect their own modes of Being, I have embraced, as my personal choice, a sense of responsibility, for making available whatever little Insights, Thoughts, Experiences, or Ideas I have been privileged to discover … my life’s particular little Streams of unseen, but genuinely validated, aspects of Life. In so doing, I allow each Individual, whose path in life intersects with mine, the lovely freedom of choice. It is my conviction that a fuller life-experience can be enjoyed if (as is true with any buffet-presentation of a variety of choices), One knows the opportunity to sample, try, test, or “taste” from as inclusive a selection of options as possible. Hence, in Philips Glass’s terms, I offer my Awareness of underlying streams of Love, Respect, Intimacy, Engagement, and whatever other elements of living I find … to all who welcome me.
Just as the Engineer, and the Others in the that evening's group, chose to dismiss the Reality of those crossed bits of wire … I know (from many years and encounters) that there are many who prefer the solid, certain, and easily defined “Ground” of a dry, barren, and unfriendly life-path, over the option of an embraced awareness of what are the undefined, uncertain, uncontrollable, and freely flowing streams of cooling, refreshing, invigorating Affections, Involvements, and, yes, even Vulnerabilities, that flow beneath their feet, in their walk through life. I have validated the legitimacy of differing temperaments and personalities that are threatened and made uneasy with such considerations … so I lovingly respect their election to assume a place of comfort, that disallows any Threat (present in those unfamiliar aspects of life) that would “destabilize” their chosen world of awareness. But I do take every opportunity to give everyone the choices.
So, My Darling Reader, I find myself following in the lovely steps of Lloyd S. Wood, Philip Glass, Anthony Campolo, Ann Kiemel, Joseph Campbell, Leo Buscaglia, and many Others who have touched my Life, inspired my Spirit, stimulated my Mind, engaged my Soul, and made better my Days … by excitedly and enthusiastically pointing out both the tiny trickles of Truth and Beauty; and surging Rivers of Present, and Eternal Truths and Realities ... each, and all, making my personal Walk richer and more delightful every day. I do hope that You too, will share Life’s Treasures with all who bless your pilgrimage … and with me as well!
(PS … Because of my love, and appreciation, of Who he is … I phoned Lloyd Wood, a few days ago, to let him know how I feel about him and his effect on my Being. He is doing well … has retired from the Engineering field … is now ninety years of age … and still commands his indomitable wit, and gracious hospitality of Spirit. I promised him a copy of this bit of reflection … and will mail the same to his Love and Pride … his Daughter. I want her to know of how yet-another ripple, of her Daddy’s Influence, has touched Another in Life’s pond.)
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