Yesterday we spent the morning at Monticello and I came away from it amazed by the life of Thomas Jefferson. It was a Good Life.
He said he wanted to be remembered for writing the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia statute for religious freedom, and founding and designing the University of Virginia. theThat is plenty! What struck me was his curiosity and his interest in learning and truly stretching his mind. I couldn't get over how inventive he was as he designed his house, improved on plows and carriages and studied stars and land and different cultures.
We all know he had blind spots. He believed in equality for all people as he kept his slaves, he was probably an overbearing father and grandfather and he and Alexander Hamilton began that two
Party system in our country that is so fraught with division today.
However it is noteworthy that in the entryway of his home he has a bust of
Alexander Hamilton ( not as large as Jeffersons!) There is something in that act that makes me think his mind was large enough to embrace the opposites, so to speak.
I read Richard Rohr this morning who wrote about how education by itself does not lead to transformation and that we can be highly educated and still highly dualistic and egocentric. Somewhere along the line - it may be suffering, prayer, life - that leads us to " trust in goodness, hope for more to be revealed, and love what is.". That is what I saw in the life of Jefferson - a man who really embraced and loved his life.
I copied one quote that spoke to me yesterday: "The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave." His dream of equality and freedom for all people continues well beyond what Jefferson imagined 200 years ago and the waves continue in our day and age. This gives me hope at a time where I fear some people have less freedom. I trust in the power of goodness ( God's continuing activity) and hope for more to be revealed.
And now in loving "what is" it is helpful to turn to the ancient scripture that describes the way of love. One of the texts of today is Ephesians 4:25-32 and Paul's words:
"Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up as there is need, so that your words give grace to those who hear.". And
"Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you."
This sounds like the good life to me!
May I live it out today.
My mantra. May my words give grace to those who hear