Thursday, May 16, 2013

Finding Meaning

Did you know that, if not recycled into the soil by earthworms and dung beetles, cow dung can "dry out and remain on the pasture, creating an area of grazing land which is unpalatable to livestock?"  (Wikipedia for the win!)   Basically, if you do nothing to it, cow dung becomes so hard and crusty that it can cause the life around it to cease to exist.  Plants can't grow through it, so then cows can't graze in that area.   However, if the worms and the bugs are allowed to break it down, it becomes something useful.   Full of nutrients, the cow dung helps to fertilize the soil and continues the cycle of healthy grass growing to be consumed by the cows.   Even better, cow dung made into manure is fantastic for gardeners to help their plants grow full and beautiful.   From a disgusting waste product, beauty can emerge.  But, not on it's own.  It needs help.

To me, this analogy helps make sense of the horrible and hurtful "Everything happens for a reason" sentiment.   People want to look at the flowers sprouting out of the soil and say "See!   Here is your reason!  Good has come from bad!  Yay!"   If there was no cow dung, there wouldn't be flowers, right?   Wrong.   If there weren't earthworms or beetles, there wouldn't be flowers.   It's not the event that has a reason - it's what you do with it that creates reason, or rather meaning.  I could just leave the dung where it is.  I could not deal with it and let it dry and crust over.  I could let my grass underneath it die and, as a result, my entire herd of cattle would perish as well.  But, what would be the point of that?  What good would that do me?  Not only would my field be covered in cow poop, but then all my cows would be dead.  So,then I am left with a desolate and uninhabitable area.  

The popular saying is "Sh** Happens", and right now, I am neck deep in it.  But, I am not going to let it just meaninglessly lay there.  Instead, I choose to release the earthworms and the beetles - and make use out of it.   I will break it down bit by bit.   I will work through it and give it purpose.   I will use it to fertilize my field.  I will use it to plant a garden.  I will make it mean something because, otherwise, it will drive me crazy.

This is why so many mothers of loss form foundations in their child's honor.  This is why we all have blogs and causes.  Why we plunge into helping with charities.  This is why I am painting pictures and working on my cookbook.   It's the reason behind my Saturday Spotlights and my Kenley's Krew facebook page.  All of these things are my earthworms and my beetles, chewing through the muck, breaking it down to give it value.  When light comes out of darkness, we don't praise the dark.  We don't find meaning or good in the dark.  We don't say to ourselves "Hey...if it weren't for this darkness, I wouldn't have a reason to light this nice scented candle"  We say, "Hey...I'm going to light this nice scented candle because it's so dark in here."  The difference is subtle, but still there.   Kenley did not die so I could become a greater person or create a different future.  Her death had no purpose or reason, but I'll be damned if I let her death be meaningless.   

1 comment:

  1. This analogy is filled with so much truth. I agree with everything you wrote. It REALLY REALLY bothers me when people try to put any kind of positive spin on my son's death. I don't think they can even begin to comprehend how much strength it takes to get up everyday and work on releasing our "earthworms."