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Friday, April 29, 2016

Sid and Francis

In our Peace Garden, Siddhārtha Gautama decided to go see Giovanni di Bernardone. I took notes:


"Hi Sid."

"Francis."

"How's it going?"

"Oh, ok for an old guy, but I hear you've been jumpy."

"Yeah, I was a soldier for quite a while and ...well, Sid, you wouldn't know."

"Francis, I was a teacher for 45 years. I know what stress is."

"Do you? Do you really?"

"Really. What is real, this dove in your hand that I touch with my hand?

"It's made of plaster, Sid. The dove is an idea."

"We too are ideas, around which garden sculptures are cast, but there are doves above us."

"Yes, that's why Geo. built this little Catholic church over me. I never had one of my own."

"Me neither, still don't, but he glues me back together from time to time. Last month, my head fell off."

"Looks fine now."

"Yeah he used cork and caulk. Norma's going to bronze me. So, Francis, why is Geo. so fond of you?"

"Well, he's very taken with something I said a thousand years ago: 'Preach the Gospel at all times and, when absolutely necessary, use words'.  What's he like about you?"

"This quote: 'Until you make peace with who you are you'll never be content with what you have.'"

"You never said that, Sid."

"I know, Francis.  Doris Mortman did. But you don't argue with someone who's gluing your head back on."


28 comments:

  1. I loved this conversation.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. Glad you had fun with it.

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  2. Did Frances say that about preaching? Or was it Mark Twain? I love your closing line.

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    1. It does have the ring of a Twainism, doesn't it? But, the quote is usually attributed to Francis --"Rule of 1221" comes closest with "All Friars should preach by their deeds."

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  3. St. Francis is a most appropriate fixture in your serene garden.

    Doris Mortman has connections to New Jersey and New Mexico, so I feel akin to her.

    ("akin" isn't a word I use often - - it sounds kind of odd...)

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    1. I think she started out in Santa Fe --Sp., "Holy Faith"-- so she might be akin to the Friars too.

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  4. Replies
    1. She does some pretty good spaking.

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  5. It was a good conversation to eavesdrop on. Great wisdom came from both.

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    1. Both men possessed remarkable insight into the causes of human suffering, understood their times and did much to improve their world. Their influence will never end.

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  6. Two wonderful fellows to spend time with in a Peace Garden. Nice just to be in a Peace Garden too! Glad you are an attentive friend and keeping heads in place.

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    1. Peace Gardens aren't just static things. Guy needs a small Catholic Church, another guy needs his head glued back on, you gotta be ready to help.

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  7. Three excellent quotes - next time I lose my head I'll have to remember the last one.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. I'm confident you'll never have to use that quote.

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  8. I learn so much here. I had to think about the first quote a bit and I'm going to try and preach the gospel at least all day with no words. Maybe it will become a habit. Now I have to google Doris Mortman.

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    1. Thanks, Chicken. In habit or regular garb, I bet you have no trouble setting a good example.

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  9. A great conversation to listen in to, Geo.*smiles*
    A great deal of wisdom in their words too...and I love the ending...absolutely had me in stitches!!
    Brilliant!!!

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  10. Replies
    1. Agreed, Keith. Nearly impossible even after one's head is reattached.

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  11. Like many of my generation, my knowledge of Siddhartha come from Hesse's tome. I read it several times in my twenties, first in Vietnam, then in undergrad. My 'take' on it has changed several times in the last 50 years. There are many and varied meanings one can ascribe to the book, the one that lasts with me is that a person, having a wealth of experiences over his life, at the end realizes he has no idea of what it all means, but it's worthwhile to have lived a good life.
    Ironic isn't it, that the name Siddhartha means 'one who has achieved his goals'.
    Cheers Geo,
    Mike

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    1. Thank you, Mike. My early --teenage-- introduction to Buddhism --of course, somewhat different from yours-- permanently impressed me with its succinct diagnosis of human suffering in the 4 Noble Truths. That, and the 8-fold Path, viewed as treatment and healing way of life, prefigured modern cognitive therapy for anxiety disorders. Siddhārtha did his part, now it's up to us to achieve his goals.

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    2. Geo
      A funny afterthought, triggered by your reply. One of my docs, who are coming to the conclusion that they don't have anything that's better than the symptom to stop the arrhythmia, suggested xanax.....a funny cardio guy from Singapore, he said 'it won't fix it, but you might not care as much." I thought this was pretty damn funny, and said what the hell. why not.
      I find it the equivalent of a glass of good Zinfandel, and not nearly as tasty.
      Be well my friend.
      Mike

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    3. If the arrhythmia is stress-related, a glass of zin is certainly a possibility. I had to undergo ablation --during which I woke up and told the electrophysiologist he was bridging my pacemaker leads (left chest muscle spasms). I do take lorazepam, as needed, for GAD. But I've never had a recurrence (past 10 years) of hummingbird heart since cardiac ablation. Dear Mike, you be well too!

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  12. Geo. you always gladden my heart and make me see why life is good.
    x
    p.s. Francis is my guy.

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    1. Kind Austan, Thank you. Sometimes we have to struggle a bit but it's true what you say about life. Francis is a good influence, too!

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  13. Where else in the world could we possibly be privy to an enlightening conversation between two such notables, I ask you? Nowhere! (Too bad.)

    Sid is an extremely wise man... it's never a good idea to argue with the dude who's returning your head to its proper place. Could lead to upside-down thinking... or a strong urge to become a politician. Hmmm, that was kinda redundant.

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    1. Susan, I think you've hit on the reason we see so few --if any-- little garden statues of politicians. Another enigma solved!

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