In October, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet an Elder from my Pagan community, Elspeth Odbert; known to many as Grandmother Elspeth. Just a week prior to meeting her, I had been shopping in our state's only metaphysical shop and had come across a beautiful piece of prose titled, "The Challenge." It was written by Grandmother Elspeth in 2004. It hangs in the entryway of my living room.
Not just a beautiful piece of prose, it truly is a "I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Will you pick it up?" challenge. While I feel it would be a complete injustice to Grandmother Elspeth to reprint the entire prose right here on my blog, I will post snippets though, to give some food for thought and to share the power behind the words.
"I challenge you, by Mystery and by Majick, to become the person you were meant to be..."
And so begins Grandmother Elspeth of Haven's challenge to all who dare to accept the challenge.
"I challenge you to live Life more fully... to know that you are the only limiting factor in your life"
The above statement, though I have it abbreviated, is HUGE! How many times do we honestly think about the limits we put on ourselves as people? While limits and bounds may be necessary for some things, there are many times when you need to become "the one who rocks the boat" in order to effectuate change. As a Witch, as a Pagan, I know that complacency can not take up residence in my home. There is no place for complacency in my life. Everything in life moves forward, even though at times one might wish it didn't. And since time stops for no man or thing, we must each learn to embrace that and stop limiting ourselves because we believe we can't change the outcome of things.
"...to know that war is not the answer."
In the thousands of years that we have been around, we haven't managed to figure out the above yet. We continue to wage war on each other, whether it's with knives, bows, guns, bombs, or even our words. We have yet to realize our connection to each other as people. When you look at your neighbor, do you see "the old black man that lives next door" or do you see the friendly face of a man who, now in his retirement and elder years, shares stories of his youth with your child that sits wild-eyed and listening intently? When do we break beyond seeing people by their nation, race, or even their disability and just start seeing them as people?
"I challenge you to continue in your chosen path, living joyously."
I stick to my claim that not everyone has the same path; we must each choose our own. The statement in this prose also states the same. It's the person's chosen path. No one said we all need to believe one way or the other. While there are those that try to push the envelope on that one, wanting to force people to believe how they believe to the letter, we grow so much better as a people that choose the path that fits each of us, yet allow ourselves to be open enough to listen and be accepting of another's path. My truths aren't necessarily the same as someone else's, but you will never hear me degrade another because they have a different set of truths.
I will leave it at this. I wanted only to share a bit of this thought-provoking prose with all of you. Hopefully, some of these sentiments make you think. For those who wish to seek the full prose or see what else Grandmother Elspeth offers, you can go directly to her site: www.grandmotherelspeth.com.
The words in "The Challenge" have been truly inspirational for me, pushing me forward, reminding me to think outside the box. Meeting Grandmother Elspeth in person after reading her prose was just as wonderful a thing. There is much that can be learned from our elders, if only we open ourselves to listen.