Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beware the ides of March

March 15th was a fateful date in my life.  Well, unlike Julius Caesar, I live to tell the tale of what happened. Remember Shakespeare's setup?
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
To which then Caesar says "He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass."

We know how that turned out for Caesar.

Back in 2002, March 15th was when I interviewed for the job in Oregon.  Yep, the very job that I have been at since.  Of course, in my talk, I joked about the "ides of March."

So, was it all for good?  For worse?

Isn't that the question of life itself?

To answer that, I must quote you a Buddhist parable that I came across a few years ago, in a wonderful essay that was about a specific political development.
A poor farmer whose only worldly possession is a mare wakes up one morning to discover that the mare has gone. He runs to his parents’ house and breaks the terrible news. When he’s finished, they ask, “Are you sure it’s bad news?”
“Of course it’s bad news!” he replies, stomping angrily away.
Ten days later, his mare returns, bringing with her a magnificent stallion.
The farmer runs to his parents and tells them the wonderful news.
“Are you sure it’s good news?” they ask.
“Of course it’s good news,” he declares, leaving in a huff.
Days go by, and the farmer decides to try to break the stallion. He bridles the beast, climbs on its back, and is promptly thrown to the ground and trampled. The village doctor informs him that he will be a cripple for life. When he can do so, he makes his way to his parents and tells them the dreadful news.
“Are you sure it’s bad news?” they reply.
He doesn’t answer, but he mutters to himself all the way home. Two weeks later, a detachment of the Emperor’s army arrives to draft all the able-bodied men of the village. Of course, they pass over the crippled farmer. He hobbles to his parents’ house to share his joy.
“Are you sure it’s good news?” they ask.
The story has no end, of course
Life is what it is as we experience it.  It is all about the here and the now.

But, yes, life as it is was certainly influenced by the "ides of March" thirteen years ago. In an email after I was all done at the old place, the department secretary wrote in her email to me:
 I know that the people at WOU will be very thankful that you have accepted the position.  I will miss you very much.  You always had a smile on your face and willing to help in any way
As long as I have a smile on my face, have my sense of humor--however warped it might be--and am willing to help, life will be well worth it, despite any ides of March.


Anne in Salem said...

Life is what it is. Profound in its simplicity. We can plan and hope and dream and prepare, but we cannot know that any of those will come true. We can appreciate those around us, our opportunities to share with and care for and serve others, to learn and laugh and love, but we cannot know what is to come. We can listen to beautiful music, today, right now.

You know the old joke about how to make God laugh, don't you? Make plans.

Ramesh said...

Que sera sera. Have a smile on the face and live the today, for what else can we do.

As for the WOU, if only they had listened to the soothsayer :):)

Sriram Khé said...

Or, as I like to joke, "Khe Sriram Sriram" ;)

Quoting god at this atheist's blog? On a Sunday? Oh my!!!

Yes, it is all in the here and in the now. Have a good one, friends.

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