In 1978, I graduated from high school, the very first Walkman was introduced to the world by Sony and Harper & Row published the book titled, Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster. If I had a brain in my head, I would have put all this together years ago. But, I confess I missed it.
I had the rest of my life ahead of me in 1978. My choices were.. go to work, go to school, sit at home for 12 seconds and then have my dad (former police chief) go over my rights repeatedly during those 12 seconds.
- I had the right to remain silent – if I wanted all that I didn’t say held against me.
- Every day that I sat at home without a job or enrolled in class would be held against me.
- I had the right to listen to his counsel.
- If I thought for one second that I couldn’t afford to listen to his counsel, a job of his choosing would be provided for me.
- If I didn’t understand these rights, I would not like how they were repeated.
So, what did I do? I did it all. I got a job, enrolled in a junior college, listened to his counsel, and bought a walkman. The walkman was for my silent moments. But, what did I not put together?
Years later, likely around 1991-92, I was introduced to the book, Celebration of Discipline . A brief synopsis of the table of contents includes “Inward Disciplines, Outward Disciplines and Corporate Disciplines.” In the very first chapter, “the door to liberation was opened.” The first paragraph hooked me.
Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.
In the next paragraph, the author challenged me personally, although he didn’t have any idea who was holding his book in her hands. He says that the classical disciplines “urge us to be the answer to a hollow world.”
What a hollow world mine would have been had I attempted to ignore my dad’s counsel. The thing that I didn’t get was when you have your whole world in front of you and it seems a bit scary to face the unknown, all you need is the love and support of your parents, a little discipline and a walkman.
The experiences we have while working toward our goals can be just as fulfilling as when we actually meet the goal. A perfect quote by Thomas Merton in the book, is what I’m leaving you with.
We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!”
I’m so grateful that at 53, as I face the unknown, I can be a beginner the rest of my life, while being an answer to a hollow world.