“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” –Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, Gladiator (2000).
Walks are good for us. On a recent walk by a rail line I heard the ending of a phone conversation, and as I looked instinctively to my left I was amazed to find the person behind the voice at least forty metres away. How does sound carry so far?
I got to thinking that I’m occasionally known for having a raucous voice, and in the context of private conversation how watchful I need to be. You know, those times when you’ve wondered if someone has overheard part of a conversation and you wonder what they thought, having exposed yourself.
And then only recently I recalled the sound power carrying from the waves at the beach near our home. I couldn’t recall them being louder, ever. It was as if these waves crashing against the shore were right there before me!
Sound not only carries far beyond where we think at times, as the Gladiator quote above suggests, our actions ‘carry’ far beyond this life and the issues of our banal times.
I think the gentleman concluding his conversation may’ve been startled to think I could hear him so clearly, if he’d have known, particularly if it was of a personal nature. Yet, our lives are always more public than we either think or even like a lot of the time. Without being paranoid, we have a ‘domestic’ and we naturally think of what the neighbours thought. Or we have a ‘private’ conversation at work and there are always people wandering by.
But the main point is if voices and sound carries far, how lasting are our actions? I mean, we carry regrets with us far too long; but it’s the design of life—our unwise actions condemn us now, but where they’ll really count is in eternity.
We reflect and learn. We learn and respond differently. We hence approach wisdom. Again, this is the design for life; that we might learn and grow in wisdom.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.