We are an insatiable bunch and we want it now. We graze our meals whilst doing something else, be that passive watching television, checking our Facebook posts or something more active like wandering through parks or shopping.
When we are hungry we eat, it doesn’t matter what time it is or where we are. We don’t wait for the appointed time anymore. It is rush, rush, rush and now, now, now.
Whilst researching for an essay I must write I pondered some time in John Wesley’s journal. I was thinking of his drive or motivation to save many souls. I was thinking of the rules he put on his life and whether if he was transposed to this time which rules would he forego.
I came across these words:
Monday, February 8 1768.–I met with a surprising poem, entitled, Choheleth; or, the Preacher. It is a paraphrase, in tolerable verse, on the Book of Ecclesiastes. I really think the author of it (a Turkey Merchant)understands both the difficult expressions and the connection of the whole better than any other either ancient or modern writer whom I have seen. He was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, just then sitting in his nightgown and slippers. Before he could dress himself, part of the house he was in fell and blocked him up. By this means his life was saved, for all who had run out were dashed in pieces by the falling houses.
The poet he refers to was saved during a massive earthquake in Portugal because he did nothing. They died in their nightgowns in the street, he didn’t and at some point in his life he wrote this according to John Wesley. However the two possible authors do not have Turkish names and so we come to one of John’s few failings – he potentially made stuff up to suit an occasion. He was an English Seanchaí or storyteller and added with much artistic license to stories to make them memorable.
A mentor of mine once said “Do what it takes to get the message across!” I am not sure he was talking of this much. Yesterday I was in the company of some very beautiful people and I reflected that I no longer felt less than them. I didn’t feel I needed to justify my existence or chosen path. We sat in lush fellowship whilst eating a leisurely meal. There was no instant gratification at that table as we shared and laughed. And I pondered on my story, there is no need to over dramatise it and make it more meaty for remembrance. It is quite a drama and is still unfolding.
I have partially updated the poem’s text, adding in some inclusivity as is my wont. The original text had those funny “s” that look like “f” and I learned a new word: refulgent. It means brightly shining. Although I have only transcribed the first few lines it is truly a remarkable piece of work. I encourage you to go read the original with its own commentary at: The Royal Preacher
O vain deluding world, whose largest gifts
Thine emptiness betray, like painted clouds,
Or watery bubbles, as the vapour flies,
Dispersed by lightest blast, so fleet thy joys,
And leave no trace behind. This serious truth
The Royal Preacher loud proclaimed convinced
By sad experience; with a sigh, repeats
This mournful theme, that nothing here below
Can solid comfort yield: Tis all a scene
Of vanity beyond the power of words
To express or thought conceive. Let everyone
Survey themselves and ask, “What fruit remain
Of all their fond pursuits?” “What have we gained
By toiling thus for more than Nature’s wants
Require?” Why thus with endless projects racked
His heated brain, and to the labouring mind
Denied repose? Why such expense of time
That steals away so fast and never looks back?
Could man his wish obtain, how short that space
For its enjoyment. No less transient here
The time of his duration, than the things,
Thus anxiously pursued. For as the mind,
In search of Bliss, fived to no solid point,
For ever fluctuates, so our brittle frames
In which we glory haste to their decline
Nor stable place can find. The human race
Drop like autumnal leaves, by Spring revived:
One generation from the stage of life
Withdrawn, another comes, and this makes room,
For that which follows. Mightiest realms decay,
Sink by degrees and lo new formed estates
Rise from their ruins. Even the earth itself
Sole object of our pride, our hopes and fears,
Shall have its period, though to man unknown
Behold! The sun his orient lustre sheds,
Awhile refulgent ; but how soon descends,