Saturday, April 7, 2012

on being arthured

Australia has always had its share of characters, just one of the most widely known being Arthur Malcolm Stace [1884-1967].
In 1932, inspired by a sermon he’d heard, the illiterate Arthur started walking the streets of Sydney and writing the word Eternity for everyone to see. Over the next 35 years, he and his beautiful copperplate gift became something of a Sydney icon.

this memorial is now embedded in the footpath in Sydney’s Town Hall Square 

Without chalking but definitely having walked the talk, there are many people from my past who have remained with me; voices in my memory telling me something over and over that it seems I once needed to learn and often need to consider today.

One workmate was a quiet man who usually participated in conversations by remaining silent. Occasionally, though, in appropriate places, he would say quite sincerely “Nobody’s perfect”.

Another workmate, who proved to be an enduring friend, often had cause to say “It’s not a competition, you know”.

The Other is a woman I find inspiring for many, many reasons. Just one of the things I hear her voice whisper to me throughout my day – for example while waiting on my own for a train that has not actually been cancelled – is the question:

“Are we having fun yet?”


  1. characters and eccentric people seem to have gone by the wayside, they are all labeled now...aspergers, autistic, adhd ,bipolar etc etc etc which somehow makes them "wrong" not different.I find that sad :(

  2. Gosh "eternity", what better word to write all over the place.
    And yes, we are having fun. Regardless.

  3. Mind boggling indeed but "Its Not Rocket Science" :-).

  4. I am prone to 'are we having fun yet' thoughts but I try to overcome them with 'taking pleasure in the moment'.

  5. IWBY, I might have to add your comment to my list of "Arthurs". Let's not diminish greatness by attaching a label, but enjoy it for what it is.

    Rubye, I think Arthur was sharing something that meant a great deal to him. Generous people are part of the fun, and not really "outsiders" at all.

    Windsmoke, yours is a good one. Now that you mention it, I can think of a whole heap of places it should be set in concrete, made into posters, and be part of the letterhead.

    Andrew, more good advice. A course leader made a big impression on me one day when he said "we give ourselves permission to worry". Having lost a bucket in the crash of 87, decided he would spend 20 minutes and no more working out what he could/would do about it, and then get on with his life.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  6. 'Yes, well...' is my lame contribution to the list of things to say at these junctures. Arthur's 'Eternity', inscribed all over the place in Sydney, always transports me to another dimension of place, somewhere.

    1. Hi Christine, as I've nothing original of my own to offer in certain situations, I'm not sure 'Yes, well..." is too lame. As for Arthur, I'm not sure it's the word 'Eternity' that impresses me so much as the idea someone had found a great meaning for his life.

  7. I like what I Wasn't Blogged Yesterday says; and your response.

    I agree that labeling often diminishes people. Or actually...I think it diminishes those of us who are doing the labeling.

    It's nice that you have your friend's ideas visiting you in your head.

    I imagine they'd be glad to know they've made an impression on you.

  8. I just read your comment to Christina. I like what you say there too. I think I feel the same way. It's not about the word for me. It's about the passion for the word.

    I like when people have passion.

    1. Hi Dina,
      thanks for your positive feedback. [Of course, sometimes people make a positive impression without providing a "quote" :) ]

  9. Interesting. Now you have me thinkng about who/where I got some of my sayings. I too say the "Are we having fun yet?" I also picked up "Really?" and from a good friend "Just sayin!"

  10. Hi MT, perhaps I should add some 'sign language' to my list, because our two schnauzers don't speak English very well. I have been known to dance from one of my front feet to the other and make sooking noises, but I try not to wag my tail vigorously in public. [And I always used to snore before they joined the pack so that doesn't count.]