Transcendental Journal Assignment: Post 2

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As it turns out, rain does NOT mean spring has come. At least, it doesn’t when it’s still 40°F outside. It does, however, make for a more interesting walk. I began my walk with a specific destination in mind: a recreational-type area which supposedly used to contain playground equipment. The catch was that I really didn’t know where it was; all I knew was that it somewhere along my street. As one might surmise, I spent most of my time walking in search of the place. Perhaps halfway down the street, I found a place which might have been the one. I couldn’t be sure it was the right place, however, and I didn’t want to be accused of trespassing, so I didn’t explore it very much. Besides that, I had little actual experience with what one might call “nature.” I did, however, have to walk through several rather deep puddles.

As the most conspicuous feature of the sidewalk (save a somewhat timid squirrel), the puddles got me thinking. At first, the thoughts weren’t terribly deep: Wow, this is a pretty deep puddle. It’s a good thing I wore boots … Oh, look, my boots are wet. These and other profound insights ran through my head for around a minute. Then, out of nowhere, I thought about how the puddles revealed the imperfections of the sidewalk: how uneven must it be to trap this much water! Indeed, during the uphill stretches, the rapid flow of water down the path (as well as my lack of exercise) revealed tellingly just how steep the sidewalk was. I began thinking about another property of water: it heals things. It was interesting to see that something so healing could so mercilessly reveal the imperfections of the ground.

I think a lot of things in life are like water. Part of the healing process is recognizing that there are imperfections to be healed: “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.” No one will fix the sidewalk until it becomes clear that it’s uneven. Someone with a drinking habit cannot make a concerted effort to stop drinking unless he realizes that his drinking is having a negative effect on himself and on the people around him. Ironically, fire provides a similar analogy. For example, one has the Biblical analogy of the refiner’s fire. In order for the “gold” (soul) to be purified, it has to be put through “fire” (trials and tribulations). A more cynical person might say that avoiding Hell in the future requires embracing hell in the present. Healing can hurt. Life requires us to endure unpleasant situations, but sometimes these situations are necessary to take us through, improved, to the other side.

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