Tales of a Golden Heart, Chapter 10: Graduation

–Daylight in the swamps! __Elvin M Baker

August 1, 1985. Eleven and a half years on the path of Eck, studying, learning, a regular Jonathan Livingston Seagull in action. Two more marriages and a bankruptcy behind me, fading into the past along with the onetime interest in alcohol. Truck driving and roughnecking in the oil patch, logging and group home house parenting and a stint as a child protective social worker. Insurance, more insurance, and more insurance. Temporary clerical keypunching, firewood cutting, wall painting, plus a warehousing position processing PCB-contaminated transformers.

On the creative side, an equal damburst: Correspondence study in art and handwriting analysis. Key roles in three separate community theater productions in one long, fast-paced summer. Canvas board, oils, acrylics and a one man art show. Four science fiction novels written: One trashed, two shelved, one published.

Moving, restlessly moving on, from Oregon to South Dakota to Wyoming, back to Montana, then Portland, Oregon, and finally San Diego. And all of it–every moment of suffering, every burst of joy–all of it necessary for my personal spiritual unfoldment. Throughout the process, I had learned a degree of compassion, joy in life, understanding, gentleness.

The clock said 6:02 a.m. Sunlight poured in through the yard sale curtain hung on an iron pipe. Time to rise from the mattress parked on the floor, so shave, shower, hit the streets toward the office. Helmet, gloves, boots. Zee started on the first try, the little Kawasaki eager to cover its morning four-mile warmup in the usual ten minutes. No one else seemed to notice, but my roommate still hadn’t adjusted. Doug couldn’t seem to reconcile the image of a man in his forties perched on a motorcycle wearing a three piece suit. Before Zee’s advent, he’d had the same attitude toward my red backpack and blue tenny runners.

At the office, my supervisor and I discussed the day’s work ahead until I simply had to interrupt with the big news.

“Guess what, Norman?”

He waited.

“For the first time in forty years–or at least in my adult life–something has changed. I no longer have to be married. I woke up this morning and the compulsion was gone. Just like that.”

“Hey, that’s great!” Norman’s brown eyes sparkled with pleasure. As a dedicated young bachelor, he couldn’t imagine anything better than being released from a lifelong desire to be married.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll never marry again, but I don’t have that deep inner need any more. Hey, Martha!”

“Yes, Fred?” The Branch Assistant paused on her way past Norman’s office cubicle.

“I woke up this morning without the compulsion to be married. It was gone just like that. It took the Eck a long time, but it got the job done.”

“That’s great, Fred. That’s really good news.”

“You bet it is. Hey, Mary!”

And so went the day. By the time it ended, I’d been advised I was being promoted, two special letters had arrived in the mail, and a forty-five minute phone call had renewed old bonds with a friend who’d been out of touch for eleven years. At midnight I finally rested, stretched out on the mattress, hands clasped behind my head as I stared grinning into the dark. Only one thought remained.

Thank you, Mahanta, it whispered softly. Thank you.

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For our readers who may not recognize words like Eckankar or Eck, the definitions can be found in A Glossary of Eck Terms at Eckankar.org.

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