The Living Yeast, C’mon, Man!
There was still no definitive answer as the monk understood definitive answers to be, as he understood messages from God were so received. But he was young for an abbot, so perhaps he had misunderstood how it was supposed to work. Or perhaps, he wondered, Father Franciscus had misrepresented the clarity with which God spoke with him. He considered such speculation to be spurious, unworthy of him, and extensions of his own weakness and insecurity. This was his first real decision. It must be the correct decision. It must be a decision which justified his appointment. It must not be warped by blaming someone else for his own sin. And thus he prayed, and meditated, as the single dim candle in the chapel melted and withered to nothing, its flame occasionally buffeted by the draft which ghosted through the old structure.
He felt an answer derive from a thought which wasn’t an answer and wasn’t about the problem at hand. His determination to make the right decision could in fact lead to the wrong one. The arrogance and ego inherent in the desire to be perfect; no human can be perfect. No human is without fault, without sin. That so fervently seeking God’s help in a decision so human in its nature for the simple reason that a correct decision would feed his ego was a far worse sin that stumbling in his humanness and choosing a course that was not entirely perfect.
He blew out what tiny flame still lived by the nub of the candle and left the chapel. Dawn was just fading in, just casting its first glow in the east. He walked slowly towards his dormitory, the cool morning breeze against his skin, his hands behind his back. He stepped over the place where the sidewalk had crumbled and sunk. It reminded him of the repairs so many of the monastery’s buildings required. There were leaky roofs, there was bad plumbing, there weren’t even enough working light bulbs. His decision, which at this point he’d made because, after all, he knew what the right thing to do was, would mean they would all have to scrimp by for a little while longer. But just a little while, he thought, and it is the right thing to do. Just another month, and the abbey’s reputation for its good works would remain strong, and then they could address these earthly issues. So foolish, he shook his head, to have lost an entire night to worry when he knew all along the right course. He had been, after all, a master brewer before becoming an abbot, so the answer had already been given to him. He hadn’t needed to engage in overt theatrics. He only needed self-confidence. And then he thought, well, this was a good lesson for a new abbot, and in that he saw its value.
He announced his decision at breakfast. He said, “We will not yet sell our Trappist beer in Westmalle as it has not yet sufficiently aged. We shall pray for strength and set our sights on five weeks hence. However, from now on we WILL be keeping an extra five percent of each batch for ourselves. I mean, c’mon …”
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BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations and rarely have anything to do with each other. Duality and such …
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.