I think that 83 years is way too long to pick flowers.
Recently, it was during a radio news report that mentioned the death of an old Indonesian man that got me thinking of the life of this elderly gentleman from the other side of the world. The report gave very little information about the deceased, just the passing mention of the man’s age, occupation and cause of death. No name was shared, no background information was offered, no details of the life this departed octogenarian had lived were revealed. So anything I desired to know about this stranger had to come from my own imagination based on the sparse facts given in that news report.
So who do I see in my mind’s eye as I ponder this man now lost to the world? I see a man tied very closely to his village, with a passion and understanding for the history and traditions of the place he called home. He was concerned for the safety and well-being of the neighbours and friends who shared the community with him. This man had an affinity with nature. Agriculture and botany were fields he was familiar with from the local wildflowers to the production of rice in the nearby paddies. He was a healthy man, active still, outside often, even after the milestone of his 83rd birthday. Regularly he was seen walking the fields or in the hills beyond his village. He may have been slower now than in the days when he was a younger man but that didn’t stop him. For he was committed to a task that had been given to him years ago.
This man had been given a special responsibility that he faithfully fulfilled year after year. His village depended on one individual, charged with the requirements of a simple mission, and this man was their chosen one. He was their protector and caretaker. They could sleep peacefully through each night, and enjoy each day free of fear because this one elderly individual preformed the duties assigned to him with determination and resolve.
He was the man keeping the volcano appeased.
As caretaker of Mt Merapi, with offerings of wildflowers and rice, this old man kept the threatening eruption of magma, superheated gas, lava and ash at bay and his village and villagers safe from sudden destruction.
Last week this man’s life ended suddenly as the volcano exploded without mercy.
My imaginings of this man’s life end with his final thought. The volcano rains in fury down on his frail grey head and he thinks outloud. “83 years of picking flowers! I could have been doing something else!”
Are you tossing rice into cracks in the earth’s crust?
Are you stuck in an unrewarding job that you dread each morning but continually endure just because it pays the bill. Change it!
Are you in a relationship where you find that the idea and practice of love is what was, rather then what is? Change it!
Are you living a lifestyle that doesn’t fulfil, yet day after day you going through the motions, because it is the thing everyone else expects of you. Change it.
Have you stopped dreaming of what you can be, choosing to settle for what you are now? Change it!
Have you never been where you want to go because you feel you can never leave where you now are? Change it!
Life was meant to be lived abundantly. So if your in a rut, trapped in routine, prisoner to the grind, slave to the man or just tossing flowers and rice in a volcano for the last 83 years. It’s time for you to make a change.
It is inevitable, for each and everyone of us, the time is going to come when our own volcano is going to blow. When it erupts, and our eyes close under that final blanket of ash, don’t let your last thought be… All this time…I could have been doing something else.
(Unless it’s your hearts desire to be a flower arranging vulcanologist…then in that case live it up!)