Monday, November 25, 2013

Allegiance & Gratitude

"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child."
Carl Jung 

We graduated from the eleventh grade into the Big Wide World, in 1942 at Buford high school. I didn't know I was deprived but I soon found out, surrounded by full-12-grade graduates at Emory.

But this is a Thanksgiving blog and what I want to emphasize is that because of gratitude ( my only claim to righteousness then) I can remember the name and specialty of every teacher in that school while I was there. Several of them also taught  my sons. 

As a matter of fact, I am absolutely certain that Misses  Daisy Shadburn, NanJohnson, Berta McCurdy and Nita Tanner focused on my barren soul in the first four grades to teach me a sense of gratitude that I just didn't know or instinctively feel as did my next-door neighbors the Lawler family  (the only Roman Catholics in our town at that time.)  I got very hot and thirsty one rainy day running around inside the Lawler house and drank some Holy Water from one of their mantels. Subsequent, immediate instruction was a powerful foundation for understanding what "being thankful" meant.  But by the time I had glided through the "rooms" of Eva Gholston, Barbara Johnson, TW Morgan and Gladys Hines,  I was in the anteroom toward maturity.  When Kitty Bell actually came to my influenza bedside to tutor me in algebra, I not only passed into the 10th grade: I was grateful, thankful and knew what those words meant in a deep personal way that no Sunday school teacher or  threatening preacher could have ever explicated or built.

It is not fashionable nowadays to pile plaudits at the feet of teachers. But this powerful group of civilized motivated women that sculpted my clay into a sponge hell-bent to learn and then teach  a sense of gratitude--- they would probably be barred from many of today's "Core"-ridden schools. 

Kitty Bell finally left  Buford and gravitated  to Oak Ridge Tennessee where she worked in the Manhattan project (building the first Atomic Bomb).

It's very fashionable in academic circles nowadays to pick at the Thanksgiving of 1621 and compare it with the Thanksgiving of 1623 and then with the Thanksgiving of 2013. 

But except for the fact that the pilgrims off  the Mayflower  were thanking God as well as  the civilized Native Americans who had taught them to plant maize and hunt and trap meat ( which averted their starving), this discussion is more to shine a bright light on how bungling, unenlightened souls come to understand  Grace, Thanks and Gratitude.

My Betts, before she went to the True World, had a favorite fable from the Orient most illustrative of one thing ( among many ) .

An ancient Chinese father of many who were fathers of many, attended the wedding of a prince and his princes. After the ceremony, the Ancient One presented the couple with a small convoluted shell, iridescent in all of the shades of the spectrum, and though  tiny, it  projected a brilliance that was almost unkind to the 

"I see," the well-traveled prince said, "that you have been to the hazardous south border of the far sea. You must have traveled many moon-changes".

"Ah, Inded", smiled the Vizier. "Arduous and lengthy journey...Part of Gift !!!!"

So, THIS is the target of true gratitude...the Heart  and its praise of all Respect and feeling for the struggle and the loss and the winning of wisdom and the passion of  delivering it  to others.

Here are the dimensions  of  gratitude. How many know?