Sunday, March 10, 2013

the strongest verb

I don't know if any of you have read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, but it's fabulous. I think it's the only book I've ever had to read in school that I thoroughly loved. I learned a lot about God and life by reading that book. I highly recommend it.
I found the following story on a website today... This story was told by Paulo Coelho, so it naturally caught my eye... enjoy.


As soon as he arrived in Marrakesh, Morocco, a missionary decided he would stroll through the desert at the city’s boundary every morning. On his first stroll he noticed a man lying on the sand, caressing the ground with his hands and leaning his ears towards the earth.

“He is mad,” the missionary said to himself. But he saw the man every morning during his walks and after a month, intrigued by that strange behaviour, he decided to approach the stranger.

He knelt beside him and asked, in broken Arabic, “What are you doing?”

“I keep the desert company and offer solace for its loneliness and its tears.”

“I didn’t know the desert was capable of crying.”

“It cries every day, because it dreams of being useful to mankind and turning into a huge garden where people could cultivate flowers and tend sheep.”

“Well then, tell the desert it accomplishes its mission very well,” said the missionary. “Every time I walk here, I am able to understand the true dimension of the human being, as its open space allows me to see how small we are before God. When I look at its sands, I imagine the millions of people in the world who were born equal and am reminded that life isn’t always fair towards everyone. Its mountains help me meditate and as I see the sun rising on the horizon, my soul fills with joy and I feel closer to God.”

The missionary left the man and went back to his daily chores. To his surprise, he found him the next morning at the same place, in the same position.

“Did you tell the desert everything I told you?” he asked.

The man nodded.

“And even so it keeps crying?”

“I can hear each of its sobs,” answered the man, his head tilted towards the ground. “Now it is crying
because it spent thousands of years thinking it was completely useless and wasted all this time blaspheming God and its own destiny.”

“Well, then tell the desert that despite having a short lifespan, we human beings spend much of our days thinking we are useless. We rarely find the reason for our destiny and think God has been unfair to us. When a moment finally arrives in which we are shown the reason why we were born, we think it is too late to change and keep on suffering. And as the desert, we blame ourselves for the time we have wasted.”

“I am not sure the desert will bother to hear it,” said the man. “It is used to suffering and it can’t see things differently.”

“So then let us do what I always do when I feel people have lost faith. Let us pray.”
It's only natural that a man someday wonder "what exactly am I here for??" I learned in health this week that most start their search for identity when they're a teenager. I thought this was kinda interesting, and I really sincerely hope that some of the teenagers I've met haven't found themselves yet, if you know what I mean. haha. (No one in particular!)
My point is, man's search for identity may begin as a teenager, but it takes many people a long, long time to really figure out who they are and what their purpose is. And whether or not it takes you a long time to find yourself doesn't really make a difference. Many people, like the desert, will regret their past and will wish they had come to their senses sooner. But that's the point of life.
Move on and rejoice in the knowledge of a better life ahead of you.
In English this year, we've written a couple papers where we were required to take out as many to be verbs as possible while making revisions. Yeah. Try taking every occurrence of be, being, been, am, are, is, were, etc... out of your paper. H.a.r.d.
My teacher explained that the be verb is the weakest verb in the human language. "It shows no action," she explained.
I suppose in a paper this is often true. It's probably better to use other verbs sometimes.
But the weakest verb? I think not.
Who you are, what you choose to be, what your purpose is, these all seem like very strong statements to me.
Be a faithful disciple. Be a doer of good. Be a peacemaker.
People always make mistakes and slip up. You will say things you will regret. You already have experienced this, and you will no doubt experience it again.
But when you think about someone you knew years back, it isn't the little things they said that you remember. You remember them for the kind of person they were. What they did with their life, and how they treated others.
So be a force for good in the world. Decide who you are and never look back. Keep moving forward and continue learning new things about yourself.
“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”
-Robert Browning

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