Traveler by Daren Simkin – Susan’s Newsletter Jan. 2008

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January 5, 2008 Susan’s Newsletter

The Traveler by Daren Simkin (A Traveler packing up “time” constantly searching for true happiness)
Quotes on Living for Today
 
Good morning everyone!  Does this little baby realize how difficult it is for me to come up with coherent thoughts without a few cups of coffee?!?!?!   Last week I was given The Traveler by Daren Simkin, again, by one of you!  This is a little book about a young boy that decides to pack up his “time” and travel until he finds true happiness.  No matter where he ends up in his travels (each location seemingly “perfect” at first) he finds something wrong…something that doesn’t provide him with complete happiness.  On his pursuit for a perfect life he walks & walks, sleeps & sleeps, with his suitcase full of his packed time at his side, always believing that his suitcase was would continue holding “time” for him until he opened it when he found the perfect life. 
 
My time is safe in my suitcase, I can never go wrong – Soon I’ll find something perfect to spend it all on...”  Nearing the end of the fable he finds himself an old man, lonely.  He comes back (after circling the earth) to his original home, his original friends, now all old.  “I have decided to spend my time: my decades, my years, my months, my weeks, and my days, my hours, my minutes, and my seconds, too.  I am ready to spend them all, and I want to spend them at home, with friends. With you.” 
 
He opens the suitcase that he has lugged his entire life believing that he will find his entire time that he began with in the suitcase.  Only one month fell out to the ground.  He searched everywhere – where were his decades, his years?  He doesn’t understand.  He then realizes that to save time was an impossible pursuit.  He realizes that he only has one month left to his life.  With the diagnosis of death so soon, with time so wasted searching for perfect relationships, perfect surroundings, perfect work scenarios, he takes on the final month of his life.  “Come sit next to me,” said his friend.  He spent his final month listening to his friends discussing marvelous things they experienced in their lives…He realizes he has no such memories. 
 
The final question in the fable, “Does anyone know what life would be like if you kept all your time?”  Only Charlie knew this answer, and he discussed the emptiness of his travels searching for perfect happiness.  He spent his last month surrounded by his friends.  Loved.  Not in an environment of all perfection, but worth savoring and appreciating.
 
Then after reading that little book Groundhog’s Day was replayed – a movie where the main character relives his same day over & over & over again.  Others in his day don’t realize it’s a repeat for him, only he realizes this.  At first he resents this reliving, becoming a depressed, sullen, angry man.  But eventually he realizes that if he is given “time” over & over & over again he could use this as an opportunity.  He begins to educate himself musically, literally.  He begins to care for elderly, homeless, sick strangers that he meets, changing their lives with his involvement.  He realizes what a waste he’s made of so many of the days of his life…not realizing the beauty and gift of each.  I was intrigued that I had this same topic in the fable & in the movie…realizing (no matter what our circumstances are) what a difference we can make in others’ lives, even if we don’t like the way our own particular circumstances in life may be. 
 
Below are quotes that I’ve found this week on living for the day…not the future.  Being aware of what we do have from God, not only concentrating wholly on our losses or what we never received from God in this lifetime.  Here are various quotes on finding meaning in our daily lives.  I hope these inspire you as they have me.  My favorite is of a composer that began each morning with two pieces of music – so that he would fill his surroundings immediately with something beautiful.  A decision he made and followed.  Have a great week – thanks for letting me enter your Thursdays & for coming into the store.  I hope I’m working when you come in, but know that if I’m not – how much your business means to us.  Have a great rest of the week.  Make decisions that make you proud that no one else even knows you made.  Susan 
 

It has been well said that no person ever sank under the burden of the day.  It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burdens of today that the weight is more than a person can bear. Never load yourselves so, my friends.  If you find yourself so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God’s.  He begs that the weight is more than a person can bear. Never load yourselves so, my friends.  If you find yourself so loaded, at least remember
this: it is your own doing, not God’s.  He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present. 
George MacDonald
 
To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face; to greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains; to approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me, even in the doing of little things, the Ultimate Purpose toward which I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and love in my heart; to be gentle, kind, & courteous through all the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos sleep & the
joy that comes from work well done–this is how I desire to waste wisely my days. 
  Thomas Dekker 1570-1671
 
Would’st shape a noble life?  Then cast No backward glances toward the past,
And though somewhat be lost and gone, Yet do thou act as one new-born;
What each day needs, that shalt thou ask, Each day will set its proper tasks
.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 
Finish every day and be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.  This day is all that is good and fair.  It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.  Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now.  Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.  William Penn
 
Live for today.  Multitudes of people have failed to live for today. . . .What they have had within their grasp today they have missed entirely, because only the future has intrigued them.  William Allen White
 
You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life.  It is yours.  It is the most precious of possessions. No one can take it from you. It is unstealable.  And no one receives either more or less than you receive.  Arnold Bennett
 
Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.  Aldous Huxley
 
What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet?  The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. . . . The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight.  Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long.  On the planet the winds are blowing. . . .Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the snow-eater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day.  The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral.  Lick a finger: feel the now.   Annie Dillard
 
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.  Rachel Carson
 
I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing in sea or sky, nothing in city streets, nothing in books.  It were far better to sail forever in the night of blindness with sense, and feeling, and mind, than to be content with the mere act of seeing.  The only lightless dark is the night of darkness in ignorance and insensibility.  Helen Keller
 
Be on the lookout for mercies. The more we look for them, the more of them we will see. . . . Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles.  Maltbie D. Babcock
 
When I see someone smile, I know immediately that he or she is dwelling in awareness.  This half-smile, how many artists have labored to bring it to the lips of countless statues and paintings?  I am sure the same smile must have been on the faces of the sculptors and painters as they worked.  Can you imagine an angry painter giving birth to such a smile?  Mona Lisa’s smile is light, just a hint of a smile.  Yet even a smile like that is enough to relax all the muscles in our face, to banish all worries and fatigue.  A tiny bud of a smile on our lips nourishes awareness and calms us miraculously.  It returns us to the peace we thought we had lost.   Thich Nhat Hanh
 
You know of the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. . . . There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul.  Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming.  That is why you have to be careful.  As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning.  You should realize your soul suffers if you live superficially.   Albert Schweitzer
 
For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner.  It is not a mechanical routine, but something essential to my daily life.  I go to the piano, and play two preludes and fugues of Bach.  I cannot think of doing otherwise.  It is a sort of benediction on the house.  But that is not its only meaning for me.  It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part.  It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being.  Pau Casals (composer 1876-1973) 
 
 
Latin Phrase This Week:  Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est – Life is more than merely staying alive.  
 
Works Cited:  Simkin, Daren.  The Traveler.  2008.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  New York.