Friday, March 12, 2010
A Child of the Sun
Writer Katherine Mansfield, short story authoress and diarist, struggled with how she would cope with the tuberculosis that eventually ended her life at the age of 34. As short as her existence was, Mansfield held the belief that everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. It is up to each of us to embrace change, that we can turn pain into joy, that we can consciously force ourselves to push toward a great love, the love of life.
“Now Katherine, what do you mean by health? And what do you want it for?”
Answer: By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in a close contact with what I love—the earth and the wonders thereof—the sea—the sun. All that we mean when we speak of the external world. I want to enter into it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me to be a conscious direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming so that I may be (and here I have stopped and waited and waited and it’s no good--there's only one phrase that will do) a child of the sun. About helping others, about carrying a light and so on, it seems false to say a single word. Let it be at that. A child of the sun. (October 14, 1922)
Mansfield’s power of mind beautifully demonstrates the belief that we have tremendous control in accepting who we are and channeling that into who we choose to become. Change is always a form of growth, and although some change is highly painful, we evolve through it. Change broadens our scope in life, makes us evaluate each step we’ve taken, each path we have yet to take.
Today noted a tremendous change from the path on which I walked a year ago; back then, I was a fretful applicant seeking change in my career situation, taking a risk at leaving a close-knit family of mentors and friends. But today, in my new school, I sat on the other side of the table, assisting with the interviews of applicants. My chairman gently chided me: “How does it feel to be on the other side?” Very good; damn good, in fact.
This reflection of my own changes lingered as I drove home beneath the wonders of the sky which unleashed furious wind gusts and indignant showers. They didn’t affect me, however, for I felt like a child of the sun on that cloudy hour. I, too, want to be all that I am capable of becoming. And nothing can dampen my collective process of inner growth, the power of my mind, the power of energy that stems from living a positive life.
After I pulled into the garage, I walked in the rain to the mailbox where I noticed the burgeoning sprouts of crocuses and tulips, reaching their arms toward the sky. I stopped to look at them, wondered how strong they’ll be this season, this spring of life, this spring of change.
As Mansfield writes:
“It is to lose oneself more utterly, to love more deeply, to feel oneself part of life—not separate.
“Oh Life! Accept me—make me worthy—teach me.”
We can each be a child of the sun if we so choose to teach ourselves how to sprout from the thawing ground of a cold winter. I do teach others, but foremost, I shall teach myself.