A Feast in the Field

May 21st, 2013

“The field of time is the field of sorrow… How do you live with that? You realize the eternal within yourself.”

“Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes.”

Joseph Campbell

When I am overwhelmed by this world’s troubles, I remember an Indian fable I learned from the great mythologist Joseph Campbell about a tiger who thought he was a goat. The tiger tried to live with goats, but eventually realized he was a tiger. Campbell used it to illustrate one of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism: being alive involves suffering. Pain is not an optional shore excursion on this cruise.

I know it doesn’t sound like good news–especially not for the goats–but accepting this truth helps me get out of bed each morning. It gives me permission to cherish joy in a world where sorrow is inevitable. It keeps me from feeling hopeless about so much that is messed up and broken. If Buddha and Joseph Campbell had been moms, they might have said suffering is like laundry–you’re never going to get to the bottom of it, so do what you can to make a difference, and enjoy life.

There’s a famous story about Heifer International founder Dan West refusing to eat cake as long as anyone in the world went without bread. I’d heard it before, but I got to hear a first-hand account of it at Heifer’s Feast in the Field on Saturday night. It’s a compelling anecdote about an extraordinary man, but I’m sure Joseph Campbell would have encouraged Dan eat his cake and work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. At least, that’s what I told myself as I tucked into shortcake covered with fresh Arkansas strawberries and whipped cream, while learning more about Heifer’s work around the world and surprisingly close to home.

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Patrick and I attended the event as invited guests, and though there was no suggestion or request for coverage on my blog or anywhere, I am not above boasting about whose elbows I rubbed at this very fancy affair.

Okay, not elbows. But there was rubbing. And nuzzling. And nibbling. And maybe some paper-napkin munching.

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Fortunately, my date did not mind my flirting with Buzz the goat. He knew who was taking me home. Because, hello, handsome.

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And because goats can’t drive.

Buzz wasn’t the only celebrity entertainment. Cody Belew, one of my favorite contestants from Season Three of The Voice, was there to perform his new single “Say Love,” which he wrote to raise funds and awareness for Heifer projects. Downloads of the iTunes track support Heifer’s mission to end global hunger and poverty. I had every intention of getting a photograph with Cody, but that was before Buzz and I looked into each other’s eyes.

I’m sorry, Cody, you are super cute, and so talented, but you don’t have horizontal pupils.

Thanks to all my new friends at Heifer, human and otherwise, for an evening of joy in the field.

7 Responses to “A Feast in the Field”

  1. Betsy says:

    I am a huge fan of Heifer! What a lovely event to be able to attend.

  2. Martha says:

    I have given to Heifer for holiday gifts many times, what a cool event!

  3. What a great post! I’m already a big fan of Heifer International and the work they do. About ten years ago my step-mom generously offered to buy me a new coat for Christmas because I was wearing an old one I’d had for about fourteen years at that point. I thought it was too much to have another coat when the one I had was in good shape so I asked her to buy me a goat instead of a coat and I was over the moon to see on Christmas morning that she’d bought a goat, a sheep, and some chickens, to which I said, ” It’s like getting a coat, a hat and scarf, and some mittens! ” BTW, I’m a bit jealous of how good you the Mister look in white.

    • That should read you * and * the Mister.

      I forgot to say that I’m still wearing that same coat (now 24 years old) and she’s still trying to buy me one.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Looks like a great time! And I just wanted to say I loved you all white outfit – so fresh! I’m going to have to find me some white pants!

  5. Rosalee says:

    It was a truly magical evening . . . but your blog captures the meaning of Feast in the Field.
    Inspiring report. Like you, I felt honored to be there. Thank you so much.

  6. Bill Fitzgerald says:

    We were honored to have you on campus, Miz Dandelion. Please come back often.

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