Friday, August 12, 2011

No Tell-Um Holes

“Give, and it shall be given unto you, full measure, pressed down, running over” (Luke 6:38).

I’ve had some dandy “no tell–um holes” in my day—a high lake on Jug Handle Mountain, a stretch of Billingsley Creek, the upper flow of Smith’s Creek at the foot of the Trinity Mountains, a couple of pools on the South Fork of the Boise River, some riffles on the Owyhee River. But, to be honest, I can’t think of a single fishing hole that I just “happened” upon. All of them have been given to me by a friend.

I’m learning, or would like to learn, to have no “no tell–um holes.” It’s better to give good things away than keep them for oneself. It would seem that giving our stuff away to others would diminish us, but it’s the other way ‘round. Accumulation makes us less than we can be. “It is possible to grow and not to grow, to grow less and to grow bigger, both at once — yes, even to grow by means of not growing at all!" (MacDonald in Lillith).

Dante said that as soon as a soul ceases to say, “Mine,” and says, “Ours,” it makes the transition from a narrow restricted, individual life to a truly free, truly personal, truly creative life. Put in biblical terms, if you share the good things that God has given to you, he will lead you into a “larger” place. Russian poet, Andrei Voznesensky, expressed the thought this way: “The water in living wells / does not stagnate; / the more you tear from your heart / the more of it you keep."

You would think after almost eight decades I would learn the truth of Jesus’ words that a man’s life does not consist of an abundance of things. I’m beginning to learn it, however, not just because he said it, but because I see for myself it is true.

Anyway, you can’t take it with you. Job had it exactly right: “Naked I came into this world and naked I shall return” (Job 1:21).


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