Of Dreams, and Treasures, and Excellence—And Poop
By Ken K. Gourdin
A few weeks ago, while I don’t remember what it was about, I had a dream. (Well, I have many dreams, only some of which are likely to be fulfilled. Although Max Ehrmann’s prose piece Desiderata, in spots, is a bit too “new-agey” for me, I do draw comfort from things such as Desiderata over my likely-to-remain-unfulfilled dreams, but that’s another subject for another day.)
I don’t remember what my dream was about, but I woke with the thoughts, “Treasure the grain, cast the chaff away”; and, “Treasure the ore, cast the dross away.” For those unfamiliar with grain farming and with precious metals mining, chaff is the inedible byproduct of grain farming which simply blows away in the wind, and dross is the common, less-valuable byproduct that is left over after the precious stuff has been refined.
I’ve tried really hard to not allow this blog to descend into, “I pooped this morning. It was profound” territory—or, to borrow and to slightly alter a quote from the great philosopher, Ricky Bobby from the eponymous Ballad Of movie in which the title character is played by Will Ferrell, “I poop excellence!” I realize that, without a context, “Treasure the grain, cast the chaff away” and “Treasure the ore, cast the dross away” might be the equivalent of pooping excellence: they are virtually meaningless without a context, and, alas!, I don’t have the context because I can’t remember the dream.
Perhaps my favorite hymn of the congregational collection currently used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “How Firm a Foundation,” and my favorite verse of that hymn is the fifth one: “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace (all sufficient) shall be thy supply! The flame will not hurt thee, I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine!” Economic realities of extensive lettering on headstones aside, I’d like that to be my epitaph.
And lack of context for the “profound insights” from my dream notwithstanding, becoming “caught up in the thick of thin things” is part and parcel of the human experience: At various times and in various ways, everyone does it. Are we attaching undue significance to things which, in the long run (in the eternal scheme of things, if you believe in an afterlife and in a Higher Power) don’t really matter? If so, perhaps treasuring the grain and the ore while casting the chaff and the dross away isn’t such bad advice.