A square brown linoleum tile.

I have supported sufferers, seekers and saints. I hold up your feet, oh holy ones. I take every scuff, step, and drop of kitchen spatter. Unmoving, I wait as long as it takes before shining again, uncomplaining I serve. I was formed by often-suffering humans, struggling with their families and their day's labors to get their needs met, getting paid as little as possible. I was bought for as little as possible. I came from a factory of engineered meaninglessness, identical to millions, from some one re-used design that may not have been meaningless to start, but amortized over these identical millions and so many other not quite but nearly identical millions, I am not special. Commodity oils through incessantly banging machines, squirt, roll, cook, cut, slide, stack under another identical, forgotten immediately, if ever I was even noticed. I serve. Glued here I will be ripped out and trucked to a dump, and covered with garbage to look forward to the tectonic undertow of a post-archeological future. I take every step and scuff, spilled and dried booger of jam or cooked, stuck fragment. I completely, resolutely, serve.

Last month this writer saw and learned how to mine ore for gold. Wash dirt! A shovel full onto the channel, pour a bucket of water, muddy waters and gravel roll over the baffling, carpet clamped below to catch the dense fines. Shovel, pour, shovel, pour, shovel, pour. Dense fines collect in the carpet; later we rinse out the carpet, into a pan, we find tiny, tiny rubies, tiny black fines, perhaps a tiny tiny bit of gold, so precious in the carpet rinsewater.

In the kitchen, Tom sweats, I sweat. I sweep, I scrub, I mop, I wipe with the last cloth for the last clean wipe. The feet of sufferers, seekers, and saints have left their marks, and I see them here collected up like a concentrate of humble service. Is it me working? Or me working on surrender, while some inner power works, to the degree I surrender.

Sweep, sweat, scrub, mop, wipe. Enthusiastically! Rinse the wipe-cloth like a carpet into the sink. See the brown bubbling stream, carrying down itself, the concentrate of humble service, the dense black fines, rubies, and gold, the marks of those many saints and seekers, those blessed feet, the feet which themselves serve, which serve those saints who themselves serve. As I seek to serve. By the grace of those great ones who shared the path of humble service, that surprising path to the great gracious inner one free from desire, I have seen certain wonders, that the great inner being is transcendent, regal, golden-lit. A sense of its omnipotence emerged from my own intense intention of inner surrender. With eyes upward like those pre-Renaissance Christian saints, looking toward sahasrar. Hope to look there only came, that glimpse came only, by surrendering that grabby strong useless ego, by serving the saints' feet, almost as resolutely as the service of a square brown linoleum tile.

Forgive my ego but I want to share my inspiration. I do humbly offer you this, my own experience, as it carried inspiration, and tears, and laughter, to me. Judge it independently for yourself. May your inner knower recognize its own still perfection in these words, and set you, now and again, on a perfect path of inner surrender. For me, I am glad I could even have the moment's inspiration to serve the brown tile, and magically saw the meaning of that concentrate of humility that resides in each lump of dirt, the gold and rubies in service and surrender. And for you, blessings, these very blessings.

Copyright 2011, Thomas C Veatch, all rights reserved.