Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Joyous Jump 4/14/09

Have no fear of moving into the unknown.

Pope John Paul II
Come jump in with me.
I set out today to write something completely different. It was to be a story of playwrights and actors, a topic I know something about, of kings and queens, a subject I know almost nothing about. But instead I don't know what I'm writing about, I'm writing about the unknown.

When I came across this quote from the late, great Pope John Paul, I decided to accept the challenge amd plunge into a topic that does fascinate me but also sometimes leaves me speechless or, in this case, wordless.

There are many paths in life one can take where the journey is unfamiliar but the destination is known. Who has the courage to venture out not Knowing what the end of the journey may be? We grow to depend on certain things. If we head home we know where home is. If we put the key in the ignition we expect the car to start. When we log on we are sure we will get our own mailbox site and not some strange blogger's email. I suppose it's that sort of dependability that helps to keep us sane.

But what about sailing forth into unknown waters? What if we are actually crew members on some vast Star Trek expedition, off to visit hostile environments with strange, dangerous creatures? What if, lost in the woods, we came upon a civilization we've never heard of and didn't understand? How do we cope? If we find ourselves deep in the forest or in deep space with no landmarks to tell us where we are and no way known to get back to the nice warm safety of "Home" what do we do?

The answer is that we learn to live there. We make the unknown known. When the first pilgrims came to this country it was a wilderness. They didn't know where they were or what the dangers were. But they set down their bundles and started to make lives. Manhattan Island, New York City, where I lived for a good part of my life, was a total wilderness. Some small isolated parts of it still are. Slowly but certainly the people who came here tamed the wilderness and made, not only a home, but eventually a great city,

On the east side of Manhattan sits the Headquarters of the United Nations. Any citizen of the world has a right to visit the UN. And when you do you come to understand that it is not about "The Distinguished Representative from France" arguing with "The Distinguished Representative from Chine" or blue helmeted soldiers invading some war zone, but a vast complex of international workers, citizens of the world, from diplomats to janitors, working, one by one, in small, unpublicized ways, to try to make and keep peace in the world, to try to sew together out of all the disparate tribes, nations and cultures a world community, to try to understand and establish that strange unknown entity known as civilization. .

On the grounds of the UN there's a park, with grass, trees, benches and paths. I was sitting there one day watching the East River boats when a man came out of the UN building with his young son. I could tell by the way he was dressed and the language he spoke that he was not a New Yorker. He seemed to be from some South Asian country, possibly Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. As they walked along I could see he was wearing sandals. I watched his feet as they stepped along the path and I thought that, just as he was able to walk on a gentle path in what was once wild and savage wilderness, the people inside the building were working to tame all the savagery, hatred, prejudice, war and poverty in the world, to put it all under foot and make it livable. Nothing could have been more eloquent to me than seeing that man with his son. He was a citizen of the world simply and silently saying "look at what we can do."

That experience also eventually taught me how important it is to overcome the wasteful wilderness in myself. If I could not tame the hatred, anger, sarcasm, fear and negativity of my own life, how can I expect there to be peace in the world? There were many things about myself that I didn't want to face. There still are. Those are the unknowns. But I'm learning not to fear jumping in there and putting them under my feet.

"Let there be peace in the world and let it begin with me."

DB - The Vagabond
Visit a favorite place today.


Linda's World said...

Beautiful entry my friend! Linda in cold (37*), rainy & windy Washington

Beth said...

Oo, good stuff. There have been times when we've been sitting out back around the firepit, as we enjoy a bonfire. We don't venture into our own woods at night, because it really wouldn't be safe. We've speculated what this was like 200 years ago, when it was completely wooded and/or swampy, and wondered about the people who made their way to settle in this place. And at that time, there would have been wolves and bobcats around here. Probably bears, too.

When the moon isn't visible, it is completely pitch black out here--no streetlights, of course. We're too chicken to go out into the woods at night. What must those people have been like who set up house here a couple of centuries ago? A lot braver than I am, that's for sure!

Hugs, Beth

Arlene (AJ) said...

As usual DB a thought thinking blog that makes all of us stop and give thought to what you've written and how it has or would affect all of us at one time or another.

My Cuz indeed has touched many with his words, thanks for calling him "Great", touched my heart.

The "Unknown" is a challenge that will touch each of us during our lives....are we up to it, guess we'll never know if we don't reach out for it. I know life has been a challenge in many ways for me already, but I've hung in there. I've survived to enjoy another day.

Anne said...

The ONE thing that I have learned in life is that change takes time. If we examine our own lives or that of nations we realize that is true. Small changes, consistantly done, reaps great harvests. Anne

Joyce said...

My TN story...
When I packed up a U-Haul and my 3 kids 28 years ago I had no idea how my journey would end. I was living in a large, modern South Florida city and was heading for a small rural town in TN that I had never been to before. I had a rental house waiting but no job and knew no-one. I've always been a rish taker. That's been half the fun of my life. I loved this entry.
Hugs, Joyce