I recently went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls display in Charlotte. I drove my parents down and we met my oldest daughter there and stayed overnight with her. It was a fun weekend, doing something together a little out of the ordinary, meeting in a different place, staying overnight in a hotel downtown that was being renovated (and once it’s finished, I will probably no longer be able to afford staying there!). Seeing something so ancient as the Dead Sea Scrolls was really a neat experience. It wasn’t about religion really, in terms of whether I believed or agreed with what was written, but from a historical perspective I find it (and many religions) fascinating. To me, it represents an ancient people’s attempts to make sense of their world, of nature, of causes and meanings, to express themselves. Isn’t that what we all do all the time? Probably some day people will look back on us and wonder at all the things we did considering the limited knowledge we had. It makes for an interesting perspective anyway. We could have stayed in Discovery Place a lot longer looking at all the displays about the scrolls, life back in those days, the work on the scrolls themselves to bring them to light.I thought the way the museum handled the display was a little disorganized, while at the same time recognizing what a huge effort this took to get all this information and pictures together, then the scrolls themselves, which had to be in very dim light that went off periodically to protect their fragile state. They also utilized individual audio wands to dial in numbers to hear more about each display section as you read what was up on the wall. There were a lot of older people there, and they, including my parents, were having a bit of trouble navigating the technology, and it became a little haphazard, too many people in one display area at a time, and I feel that I could have stayed there a lot longer and absorbed a lot more about the culture of the times, including dishes and weaving and coins and family life and topography and many other things besides the scrolls themselves. It was still a wonderful experience for me, because I haven’t often had the chance in my life to be up close to something written by human hands that is so old and historical and of such great interest to so many people. It kind of makes you feel connected to something much bigger and more ancient from a human perspective and gives you a little bit of goosebumps. Of course, I always get those awesome feelings out in nature, but not so much with human things, I guess. But, even more than that, my family just had a nice time of sharing and talking (my daughter and I shared a room and got to talk about things going on in her life), staying downtown and going to a little Mexican place for dinner and eating outside in the city, sitting under some beautiful trees, and little kids were doing a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream across the way, dressed in their fairy costumes, then having lunch Saturday in the middle of downtown in an Irish tavern/restaurant, eating out on the balcony. We had had a thunderstorm Friday night during the night, and Saturday morning was truly awash with the clean air and pale greens and blues after a spring rain. It was a beautiful morning. We did a lot of walking, and it was fun. Even the marathon runners were friendly and greeting us as we walked past them. It was like the world was in a good mood all at the same time that morning.
I really believe in finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. I think my family perceives me as being a little silly or emotional sometimes because even like on Friday night sitting out in the middle of a city 2 blocks away from where the Panthers play football and 1 block away from where the Bobcats play basketball and another block or two from traffic flying by on I-77, I found it so peaceful and beautiful….little tables of friends and families chatting and eating dinner under the trees and people walking down the sidewalks, a gorgeous night, a little cool but comfortable. This is what life is all about.
Then in “365 Tao” I just read under the heading of “Leisure” the following: “Bird chirp, vanguard for coming rain, Dog bark skitters through twilight village, Smoke raises a column through the pines, Contented families dine in golden windows.” It explains that “Life’s pulse is gauged in the hollows, the intervals between events. If you want to see Tao, you must discern these spaces. This requires leisure, the chance to sit and contemplate, and the opportunity to respond to inner urgings.”
What perfect words to describe what I had been feeling and reveling in since I had returned home. I truly enjoy my life in the spaces, or hollows, between the events and the dramas; it’s so sweet and so real. Sitting there sipping a cool drink, feeling the gentle breeze rustling the leaves overhead, hearing children squealing and the comforting hum of families and friends quietly talking, punctuated by laughter, smelling the aroma of peppers and tomatoes, watching couples strolling hand in hand down the sidewalk, and looking at the faces of the people closest to me in the world, it hit me right in the deepest part of me, my inner urging to savor this moment, to hang onto it as long as I could, and I think that life just doesn’t get any better than this.
Copyright (c) 2006 by Raindrop Ridge Press