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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Of Gold and...


All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

I've been looking for a small jar of paint-on glitter for a wall-hanging I'm doing. Can't find it anywhere, though I know it's here. As I was searching my brain this morning, assessing where I've looked, where I haven't, where it still might be hiding, the phrase, “all that glitters is not gold” popped into my mind. Does that happen to you? Do little snatches of long-forgotten catch-phrases jump into your awareness unbidden? Where did that come from, you may wonder. Well, when it happens to me these days, I jump right back—I Google it. That's how I found this little gem from Tolkien this morning. My sons tell me it's from a song in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

We are naturally drawn to glitter, aren't we? We relish celebrity, are endlessly curious about royalty, envy wealth and all the richness in lifestyle it brings. Lots of times, we are so absorbed in what is shiny, we don't even notice what else is in the picture, behind the scenes, so to speak. One thing I like about PBS, is that they often produce documentaries that feature not just the stars of their productions, but all the support staff. Who's behind the camera, who's making the costumes, who's applying the make-up and creating the authentic period set. These people may be invisible to us, but the show would not happen without them.

There are millions of “gold” people in this world; people we rarely see or think about, who simply go about their days providing the things we need. I think about the road crews who pick up litter, who lay down asphalt, fill pot-holes, and who, even when the heat-index is 110 degrees, are out there making our lives easier. And the bread-makers, cooks, all those ladies in white aprons and gauze hats, who put chickens on the rotisserie spikes at the supermarket, and all the other unrecognized folks who just make life better for all of us. They may not glitter, but they are sure enough gold.

Recently, someone said that their sons “would never amount to anything,” because they have not settled into one career path and stuck with it, whether they liked the work or not. That person apparently did not realize that the average millennial will have at least five career tracts in their lifetime. All who wander are not lost; some of us are meant to wander. Our souls require it. The Wanderer is an archetype who moves from place to place, gathers stories, enters into other people's lives and changes their dynamics, and then moves on. They are necessary change-makers, not lost souls.

Celebrity is great, I suppose, but it is rarely earth-shifting. The roots of celebrity are fickle and shallow. It comes and goes, sometimes in the twinkling of an eye. What is deep-rooted and wizened, without being stagnant or rigid, is the wisdom gained from a lifetime spent listening to the heart's guidance. Your heart's guidance, and no one else's.

                                                                   In the Spirit,

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