When I spent the summer before I entered college in Greece, my ancestral home, I was smitten by the Classical Greek culture I encountered there, and decided to become an archaeologist. I earned a B.A. in Classical Languages – Greek and Latin. Instead of archaeology, though, I went on to earn a Masters in Rare Book Librarianship and landed a position at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. After some years at Yale, I was set to attend Oxford University for my DPhil (Ph.D) until, a few months before I was due to leave for England, a prescient dream changed everything.
In the dream I saw myself all alone as a skeleton covered and surrounded by cobwebs in a dingy, dark little closet in the tower of an ancient library surrounded by moldy old books. It was creepy and a very visceral message to me to not pursue these studies anymore.
Instead, I chose to discover once and for all whether or not God exists. So I traveled far and wide, internally and externally, only to find that God was, in fact, within me – not anywhere “out there.”
Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated with the inner, deeper meaning of words. Somewhere in my early 20’s I was writing poetry and it dawned on me to find out the etymology of the word “poem” or “poetry.” In an abridged Classical Greek Lexicon I found that the root for poem/poetry is ποιεω. And that ποιεω means to make, do, or create. That meaning seemed a bit pedestrian and superficial to me, so I dug deeper into a non-abridged Classical Greek Lexicon and found that in the earliest uses of the word ποιεω, the word means to do, make, bring into existence or create something holy. Now that really resonated with me. Actually, in Hesiod’s Theogony, the oldest extant piece of literature in the Western world, the Creator is referred to as O ποιων. i.e., The Maker, The Doer, The Creator…The Poet.
I decided at that point that I wanted to be a “poet” and make my life a “poem.” In other words, I wanted my life and actions to create something holy/sacred and I wanted to become someone who experienced the holiness and sacredness of life.
I am still working on it; a work of art-in-progress is often rough around the edges, but still beautiful within. It’s been a very worthwhile journey.
A further reflection in this regard: Whatever we create with love is everlasting and holy. All the rest is ephemeral.
We are eternal beings. This life is one chapter in our eternal Book of Life. How well will we write this chapter? Will it be a classic or a best-seller? Actually, the only review that matters is this: Did you write/live a “Love Story” – a life so filled with love, with sacred service, and with beauty that it will be re-membered and reverberate evermore throughout all of eternity for all to enjoy?
No matter what we face, let’s find the beauty, the holiness, and the love in it all and celebrate with others. Let’s live moment-to-moment with an open heart and a quiet mind and a desire to gently create love on earth. Let’s sing, dance, pray, do ceremony, and care for each other – having so much fun that that our laughter and joy can be heard in the ethers for eternity – celebrating the joy, the beauty, the love of life that we came in to create this time around and every time.