Friday, April 11, 2008

Carthage (3)

Coming close to the time I was to give my first lecture at the
Stoa, I realized that I really had to send my old toga to a
laundry. The thought of it disgusted me, but it wouldn't do
wearing a toga yellowed by age. The laundry uses urine
as a bleaching agent. Indeed urine is used to dye our
clothing as well, mixing a color into the urine. My concern
was about whether my toga would come back nice and
white, yet smelling like pee! Fortunately all laundry is aired
thoroughly, before being returned to the customer.

So the day arrived. I stood up, smart in my glistening toga
with the narrow purple stripe, nervous as a caught cat,
scared to death of a bunch of people who all seemed far
younger than me! Where was that tough Praetorian in me,
when I needed him?

Fortunately I found him! Awkward at first, I slowly became
caught-up in my thoughts and mouthed them quite nicely.
The students and scholastics applauded, grabbing me after
the lecture, asking me all sorts of excited questions. They
seemed delighted to hear what I had to say. I was most
appreciative--and relieved. With such a happy beginning,
I felt confident that I could continue presenting future lectures.

So, with that, I became an adjunct lecturer at the Stoa as
well as a recognized scholar at the Collegio Carthago.
I had once again found a place in the world, if you will.
Like when I was in the Praetorian Guard, I now again
was a member of a collegial community and enjoyed a
comradeship that I respected.

Over time I came to enjoy the activities held in our Commons
building. There were free lectures, plays, musical events
for the entire community of the Collegio Carthago. Sometimes
there were even functions open to the public. One such in
which I occasionally partook was what we called the "Sun Day
Meet." We would come together in festive song, listen to a
small talk, and share a meal together.

On one such Sun Day, enjoying the festive music, I looked up
at the far wall. I had seen it many times before, but this time
the plaque on the wall hit me square. A large plaque, it
consisted of a huge golden sun disk with an engraved word
at bottom: "Illumination." This sun disk was the symbol of
the Collegio.

I thought about this idea of illumination, meaning light. For
the Collegio Carthago it was about the Light of Knowledge.
For me it was that, but also I felt that it was about the Light of
the Logos, permeating Creation and all of us who lived in
the world. This Great Light, the Light of the World, was our
hope, our meaning! Strange, but tears came to my eyes.
I touched that little sun disk pendent that I wore around my
neck and dedicated myself to this Great Light. Once again
I declared a sacred allegiance, but to the Logos--the true
Sol Invictus!

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