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Filling the Ocean With Ink

Filling the Ocean With Ink

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Published by wolverine42100
A story downloaded in the net - anonymous author
A story downloaded in the net - anonymous author

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Published by: wolverine42100 on Sep 25, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A favorite hymn from my youth has significant meaning. The words are as follows:
Could we with ink the ocean fill
 And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
 And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
would drain the Ocean dry
 Nor could the scroll contain the whole
though stretched from sky to sky.*
 The words express an immense thought, and the story behind their creation is most poignant.During the 19th century a man was placed in an insane asylum. He was there for many yearsliving out his days in a small cell. Upon his death the attendants set about to clean his room. Onthe wall those beautiful words were scripted in pencil.The immensity of that thought came from the mind of a man who had been judged mentallydeficient. He had been judged to be incapable of living with society. He had been judged to beunproductive and unable to benefit his peers.That mind created the words which were later set to music and express a vastness that we all toooften forget, a vastness that we seem to fail to grasp in our everyday lives.As a child I observed a person whom I believed also had nothing to offer those around him. Inour neighborhood lived a man who had physical deformities. His face was contorted and I canrecall how he talked with slurred speech. The other children and I would hide behind trees whenwe saw him coming. We would giggle and sometimes taunt him. It seemed to us that he ignoredour action as he made his way up the street.My grandfather would often be seated in the front yard reading and he invariably would get upand go out to the main sidewalk to visit with this man. Grandpa would speak of everyday mattersand with the same gentleness which he showed to everyone in his life. I was puzzled by this,because I could not understand why he would take any time with this man. I could barelyunderstand anything the man said and he didn't seem to me, quite honestly, worth the time to talk to. But my grandfather understood more than I did. He was teaching me something, by example;something which I did not understand nor did I learn until many years later.More than a decade passed. During the summer months while in college I was at the post officemailing a letter. The postmaster saw me and called me over to the window. He asked me if Irecalled the man I have written about above; I said I did. He said that the man had recently diedand that he had painted pictures for many years. The pictures were quite beautiful and he wantedme to see them. Among the possessions also were oil painted, brushes, and many books on

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