Monday, October 01, 2007

me my mine


Today as I was driving to the post office, I started to think about the word "my." The possessive pronoun is a small word, but powerful. I use phrases like "my house, my husband, my church, my job." And yet, these things are clearly not entirely my own to do with as I please. The house is significantly underwritten by the bank and should they desire to do so, that institution may repossess said property and building. The husband has a mind and will of his own and though he is kind, he acts in accordance with his wishes, not mine. The church is a group of people who also have individual free wills and both individually and communally are not subject to my bidding nor my possession. The job is currently done by me but may at any moment in time cease to be "mine" for various reasons. This "my" word is decidedly not all it appears to be nor all that accurate.
We assume to possess many things which are not ours for the taking, and in contrast, we cling onto many things that we would rather thrust far from us. For example, people speak of "my allergies, my enemies, my mistakes, my bad luck." They don't really want to own these things, yet they use the same possessive phrase as they would for something or someone they dearly love and desire to keep beside them forever. Strange.
The conclusion I came to before I reached Canada Post was that we really do not possess things on this earth. It all belongs to God and it is his good pleasure to let us enjoy and use certain things while we are alive here.
There was a quote in the movie, "The Kingdom" which I thought most profound when I saw it last weekend. A government official was threatening the job of a leading security agent, trying to get him to respond in a certain way to suit the official's agenda. The agent responded (sorry I don't have the exact quote so I will paraphrase) that when he started the job, his boss made them all write their own obituaries. Having faced and accepted their own mortality, they no longer feared their lives being taken from them. He said that he treated the job the same way. He knew his job would someday end and it was just a matter of how. He did not hold onto it with tightly clenched hands nor fear its demise and he suggested that the power-hungry senator do the same.
Wise words. This is a picture of some official building in Old Montreal.

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