a little lazy peace | From an Old Soul

by Elouise

robert burns

Last week George MacDonald was on top of the world! Surveying his life’s inheritance, at peace with his Maker, and entering into “liberty’s divine expanse.” Now the tone shifts abruptly. Things don’t seem as rosy as they were yesterday. My comments follow.

August 2

It will be so—ah, so it is not now!
Who seeks thee for a little lazy peace,
Then, like a man all weary of the plough,
That leaves it standing in the furrow’s crease,
Turns from thy presence for a foolish while,
Till comes again the rasp of unrest’s file,
From liberty is distant many a mile.

George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Augsburg Fortress 1994

MacDonald’s opening line begs this question: Exactly what will be “so,” that isn’t already “so”? The answer is in the last line of his August 1 sonnet. MacDonald is just discovering he hasn’t yet entered “liberty’s divine expanse.”

What he sees is the vision, not the real thing. Thus, his opening line above is a confession:

It will be so–ah, so it is not now! [emphasis mine]

Maybe there’s more ahead than he thought. It seems this inheritance, this ‘gift,’ is costly. How can a gift come with a price? Is this a bait and switch operation?

Let’s pretend the gift is a giant estate complete with castle, stables and a formal garden. Somewhere in Scotland, of course. As a gift, it seems to be free.

Or is it? Look at me! Here I am sweating it out behind a plough! I wasn’t expecting this—especially from You! You promised me liberty. It’s my life’s inheritance. So why am I following this plough?

I’m hot, tired, sweaty and desperately in need of a little break! Why should I keep trudging along when there’s so much more I could be enjoying on this fine summer day? Who am I anyway? I thought I was the son of the lord of the manor, coming into my inheritance!

Now I feel like nothing but a lowly servant. A laborer! Surely someone else can do this. This really isn’t my cup of tea!

So…I’ve decided to pack my bag and leave. Don’t wait up for me. You’ll find someone else to finish ploughing this furrow. You probably won’t even miss me!

Right now I’m off to see the world. To exercise my liberty! To possess and enjoy my inheritance! Thanks for all You’ve done for me. You’re a True and Noble Mensch!

You say I’ll always be welcome if I want to return? Thanks a bunch, but I’m not planning to come back. That doesn’t sound like liberty to me. If you think I’m going to get restless and want to come back, think again. I’m out of here! Don’t hold your breath.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 January 2016
Image of Robert Burns from beholdthestars.blogspot.com