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Max Roytenberg

Max Roytenberg: Crowning Glory

by Max Roytenberg, January, 2016, Mesa AZ.


So, you’ve had a full life. You have retired and are living off the fat of the land. Not really! You are living off what you have stored away because of your efforts over the years. What is it that makes you feel really proud of where you are at, at this very moment? Can you define it? Can you admit to yourself those secret things that lie at the heart of your manic insistence, that still niggle away at you? What was it that you dreamed of achieving that was subsumed in the total of your accomplishments? Can you decipher the original motivation?


Some things are clear to me in my heart of hearts. I perceived that my Dad felt poor and helpless before the awesome economic forces which made him feel powerless. Until later in life he was absolutely crushed by them. For myself, I yearned to avoid being a plaything in the hands of forces beyond my control. And I did not want to feel I was poor. The unseen forces that command change in our world are awesome. There is always someone who is better placed than we are. I recognize that! Whatever resources I may have under my control are a mere bagatelle in the face of those beyond my, beyond our, reach. If that is the way we measure our wealth, our accomplishments, it’s a mug’s game.


We are, most of us, mere pawns measured on scales the world’s values.  That may be depressing and hard for us to accept. But couldn’t we opt for an alternative set of values? Couldn’t we find the values, the riches in our lives that have no rivals, whatever material success we have attained? We are mere mortals, working stiffs, in the world ruled by the one percent, but we can be the equal of anyone in some areas of human endeavor.


I can rail at the world. I can write poetry and prose that may be read by a few. Which of us is prepared to go into the streets to expose their humanity, their vulnerability, to the unthinking cruelty of the status quo? Who will risk publicly espousing their unique truth as a challenge to others? Can I personally change the world? Can I be a Moses, an Elijah, a Jesus? Do I have The Word one can hearken to, integrate into all our souls? Can I be the one whose words can be carried on the standards held by, waved by, millions, proclaiming my version of justice? Can my words change the world? Can I do this alone? Who will be my Peter? Who will be my Paul? Am I the man with the courage of an Elijah reborn? Can such be my purpose?


I will busy myself with smaller things for ultimate greater effect. Did I promote a progeny with the capacity to raise their children for purposeful lives? Are they whole and healthy? Will they breed in their turn a generation that will advance our values? Will our mission be advanced one more step into the future? Will this be enough, what we can ask of ourselves in our indeterminate world?


Your values may be smaller or larger. I cannot blame you if you do not hear in your ears the rush of blood, that you do not sense the curse of mission with which some of us are born. Be of good cheer, and rejoice that you have not been chosen. We are all, potentially, mere sacrifices on the altar of the Almighty’s purpose, the glorification of His name.


So, my crowning glory is advancing, in some small way, the perfection of His universe. So, parenting the perfect child, one who is born to advance the universal purpose in some way beyond our understanding, is a step in that direction. I know I myself have not been, am not that child.  Though I may have fantasized in some aberrational moment that I might be the one to personally carry out a crucial thrust of His purpose, I have come to terms with being but a very minor instrument.


Can I contribute to the creation of hope for a better outcome? My crowning glory may lie in my offspring. That, indeed, may be the message for all of us. Therein lie the eternal hopes for something better


I can go on much further being rhapsodic about the hope that we, each one of us, offer, in issuing up children, our sacrifices on the altars of uncertain futures. We are not absolved of our personal responsibilities, of the task we retain to make the most of our capacities, our talents, our lives. But once through the gauntlet, we may be able to comfort ourselves that we have mentored other runners in the eternal relay race.


So I have transmuted what I have absorbed from my parents into a whole other thing with universal implications, with universal applications. Will I be adjudged unhinged, perhaps under the spell of the demon drink? Have I lost myself in a metaphysical delusion? I struggle to find my footing, but I feel firmly rooted. I feel invested by an understanding of the daily steps we all can take in the lives we are living. I feel confident there are ways we can touch those around us in positive and transformative ways.


Is this my hidden secret or shall I share it widely? The answer is yet to reveal itself.  What funny stories I have to tell!                                                                                                                                    

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