For in spite of his lonely past, Jonathan Seagull was born to be an instructor, and his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself . . .
– Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
I first read Jonathan Livingston Seagull way back in the day. And back in the day it meant something entirely different to me. All I can remember from back then is that is was a great book.
Reading it again was a delight to the soul! It was so cool to discover myself, and track the the decades in between then and now, within those pages.
That is what a great book does. It reveals a person to themselves in some way, sometimes a deeply personal intimate manner. The author enters into a relationship with the reader, sharing something of themselves in a manner that cannot be described, curiously enough, with words.
Each encounter becomes a benchmark.
Those experiences are why we come back for more. I have read many of Richard Bach’s books and they all, in their way, have revealed his gift to me.
I don’t know him but I know him, know what I mean?
I love the quote above. It describes the human condition so eloquently – we are on a solitary journey – we have our life’s challenges and our rewards – and even when we surround ourselves with busy-ness and activity and distractions, there are more times than not when we feel that we are required to do this thing alone.
It is what it means to be human.
In spite of this we are born to share. That is the human condition as well, and also its paradox. Good or not so good, we all demonstrate something to each other each and every moment of each and every day.
And we share what we believe is the truth regardless of whether we want to or not. Our actions speak so loudly folks cannot hear what we are saying.
We will never know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but from our perspective we can demonstrate that we care and what we have discovered for ourselves.
Bach says that there was “a gull who asked only for a chance to see truth for himself.”
As I see it, this is every human I meet. This is also me.