Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
Jack London, author [“The Call of the Wild”]; he
was born on this day in 1876, in San Francisco
“The Call of the Wild” was one of my absolute favourite books when I was a boy. I must have read it four or five times. It became a prophetic book for me, at least the power of the title did. At age 20, after graduating from University, I responded enthusiastically to a request to go to Manitoba for the summer and pastor 4 churches in the United Church of Canada, 200 miles north of Winnipeg, near Dauphin. What an adventure! Here I was, a fat kid, an Anglican, given one volume of the Interpreter’s Bible. I lived with a widow in Ochre River; designed and presided at the Sunday “services”; did the bulletins; played the organ (and believe me, I was no organist!), preached the sermon, visited people, etc. And drank a lot of tea with the ladies!
I was there for four months. In September, I boarded a plane in Winnipeg (a four prop engine Constellation – my first time on a plane; tears came to my eyes when I realized that this huge thing was actually going to rise into the air and fly me 1500 miles “home” to Toronto. Now I know that the concept of “home” was about to be transformed! “Home” since then has been wherever the Spirit took me. And I always think of the Biblical phrase, “The Spirit blows where it will”. I left Canada and my family and friends to come to the USA and join a religious order. The last 45 years have indeed been a Journey of Surprises.
I long ago became a man who knew that my “proper function” was “to live, not to exist”. Oh, there have been times when I was tempted to “nest”, to get into my ruts and just coast along. But my “spiritual journey” has taught me, every step of the way, to respond enthusiastically to the metaphorical “Invitations to Manitoba”. I haven’t regretted it one bit. I’ve had a grand time!
Over the years, I’ve almost died three times. Serious medical issues. But I have only relearned from them the Message: Life is out there to explore. Go for it!
I have. I have no concern how long I’ll live. I “use my time”. So far, it’s been a blast! And it’s all been accomplished with very little money. It still is.