Thursday, February 3, 2011

Riotous and Endless

I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me not to get too attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough - but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love, (New York: Viking Penguin, 2006), 75.
I could write a lot of posts on the good and bad portions of the first third of Elizabeth Gilbert's book. The writing is very good. She does a great job at describing places, emotions, feelings, and questions of the soul. On many different pages I found myself laughing out loud and feeling the ache of loneliness & depression. Yet, I also see a feminist woman who is pretty self-centered and seems to think her way is the right way. She seemingly complains a lot and her justifications do not always land just right. Plus, she was able to get a publishing company pay for her to spend a year on the road. Not a lot to whine about Ms. Gilbert. So in all that, I must say I have found myself really enjoying her writing. So as I go along, I'll jot some thoughts down on passages that have made me pause and think. (Side-note: she dives into a worldly type view of spirituality a lot. I will probably not touch much on this. I don't agree with a lot of her thoughts in this regard - but I would rather focus on what I am gaining, not on what I disagree with).

The above quote comes from a part of the book where she is taking a personal walking tour around Italy, and comes across the Augusteum. Having just finished a book on Augustus - my curiosity was peaked. What was once a grand mausoleum in honor of Augustus, the Augusteum has undergone a variety of transitions through hundreds of years. Her take on its experience and ability to transcend, adjust and grow with the times was very insightful. The reality is our world is chaotic & constantly changing. What we think and hope for right now - can instantly change depending on what the world brings us tomorrow. Transformation will come. It will be endless and riotous. And no matter how much I desire to remain in the past or cling to some supposed path - I must be prepared to deal with what comes my way. Life might not look at all the way I want. That's okay. The key is found simply being able to endure.

The above picture shows the Augusteum today. Hardly a magnificent looking building to house & honor the great Octavian! Yet, the reality is it still stands. It is broken down. It has wild plants and weeds growing all over it. It is old and weary looking. Yet it remains. Can I say the same thing about my own life and journey? Or do the waves of change and transformation wash over me leaving nothing left behind?

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