• David Carlson

821: We are the Shepherds of Being, the caretakers, the voice, indeed the cultivators of raw being

Updated: Jun 16

Day 821: Wednesday, June 15, 2022

We are the Shepherds of Being, the caretakers, the voice, indeed the cultivators of raw being into meaningful being

In No Strange Land by Geoff Wood

It has been nine months since – with my son’s support – I led my wife Jane into her present Assisted Living location – and she so docile and I on the verge of breaking down. And since then I have been living at our home – by myself – and the house seems absolutely empty – just me and the furniture and dishware and pictures . . . which seem to have “stopped” the way a clock does when the mind and vitality and voice and presence and loveliness of so intimate a companion is – gone!

The environment has become so impersonal – indeed, even more so when I turn on the TV: all those talking heads who have things to sell, staring in my direction but themselves “blind” to me and millions of others. Nevertheless one maintains the old routine: meals, errands, tidying up, making the bed, tossing the circulars. The computer remains the only window worth opening as well as books of interest.

And then one morning as I arose from my living room couch, where I have been sleeping every night, the living room came silently alive. I mean the coffee table, the bookcase, the mantle piece, the recliner, the dishware cabinet, the oak tree outside my window and the yard, the birds . . . In other words a radical truth emerged, things unseen began to appear . . . the usual, ordinary things. Far from being just things, mute matter, indifferent, impersonal they reflected light, took on a kind of presence or personality. I sensed them as becoming alive, actively relating to me.

And I thought: “Why shouldn’t I experience that?” After all they existed! They shared something quite radical with me: they BE, they ARE, I BE, I also AM. If you think deeply enough, I and they share “being” – the most fundamental description of everything and everyone you touch in this world.

And as Human Beings it has been said: We are the Shepherds of Being, the caretakers, the voice, indeed the cultivators of raw being into meaningful being – like the couch I sleep on. Suddenly I didn’t feel so lonely among my many related beings, who share my space, my house, which itself once wasn’t there but now IS – and everything bearing a trace of Jane which has become also what they ARE.

Philosophers and theologians complain that we modern folk have forgotten our actual solidarity with as well as responsibility for all the beings among which we share the fact that we: ARE!

Poets, like Francis Thompson, of course, rather than complain, proclaim that fact – that, alienated as we may feel, we really live In No Strange Land:

O world invisible, we view thee,

O world intangible, we touch thee,

. . . The angels keep their ancient places

Turn but a stone and start a wing !

’Tis ye, ’tis your estrangèd faces,

That miss the many-splendored thing.

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)

Cry—and upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder

Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Cry— . . . And lo, Christ walking on the water,

Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

(Jacob's Ladder by Marc Chagall)

Sisters of Mercy Taize (lovely)


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