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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Old Priest's Paper

after the funeral of the old priest, two fellow priests dutifully sorted through his meager belongings. they found a torn paper yellowed with age with the following faded penned script.

so be keen my young priest. observe without effort.
observe yourself and others without distinction. we
are all known and know others by these tokens ...

incidental remarks
strong declarations
opinions expressed
gossip spoken

judgements made
biases disclosed
prejudices exhibited
preferences performed

what is accepted
what is tolerated
what is rejected

what is praised
what is accused
what is approved
what is ridiculed

what is forgiven or not
what is excused or not
and what is excused or forgiven but not forgotten

questions not answered
questions evaded
questions given a question
questions given a lie
or the extent of an answer
and by the way an answer is given

how much time spent alone
how much time spent with others

who time is spent with
how much time is spent
how that time is spent
what is said about the time spent
and what is said about the company kept
compared to what may be known later

who is liked of those that don't know they are
and why they are liked
who is disliked of those that don't know they are
and why they are disliked

who is helped, friend, foe, neighbor or stranger
and by what means and extent, or who is not,
and whether the deed or its lost opportunity
is happily remembered, sadly regretted, or forgotten

and remember, my young priest, words are by the
mouth, actions by the entire body. Always best both
mouth and body agree, and wisely. we will speak
of all this more soon.
. . . . .