Posted by: ritagone | June 23, 2010

Lessons from Ozymandias

A long time ago, before many of you reading this were born, there was a very popular, sexy car called the DeLorean, named after its American creator, John DeLorean.  It had doors that opened upward rather than outward (called gull doors), was a beautiful shade of silver, and it was even a movie star, with a starring role in the “Back to the Future” franchise of feature films (because it was so futuristic looking).

Today, that company is no longer in existence.  DeLorean Auto Manufacturing went bankrupt in 1982, actually even before the “Back to the Future” movies came out.

There’s a spiritual lesson to be learned here:  you can go from the top of the heap (starring in a movie, no less) to the bottom of the heap (bankrupt) in no time at all.  And perhaps another lesson: things are not always what they seem to be.

As to the first lesson, the DeLorean story makes me wonder about the many companies and organizations that were riding high in past decades or even centuries, then to become merely historic markers of the past, with little or no lasting qualities.  I’m reminded when I think along these lines of the poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, the great British Romantic poet.  It’s one of my all-time favorite poems for the ironic message it presents the reader, with much to discuss and think about.  Read it in its entirety here and you’ll see what I mean:

 

“I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Poor Ozymandias thought himself King of Kings.  He thought future generations would look at his empire – his works – and despair of ever achieving what he achieved.  To say he had an immense ego is an understatement.  But instead, the statue to his glory lies in broken and unimportant pieces on the vast stretches of sand in the desert.

John DeLorean may have thought that his car and his empire would go on into the future glorious and grand.  It didn’t happen.  When he died in New Jersey in 2005 at the age of 80, his obituary emphasized two things: his car’s failure and his arrest in drug dealing and fraud.  The scope of his life was, to say the least, ignominious.

What are we looking at today with high hopes and great impressions that 20 or 30 or 100 years from now will be but a faint memory?  And WHO are we looking at today in the same way?

When I think of my own life, what do I want to be remembered for?  And how can I make my existence today count for the Lord?  Those are not bad questions to ask on a daily basis, because they give us focus and vision and purpose.

So as I write this Rita’s Ramblings early this morning, I want my prayer for the day to be: “God, what are we going to do together today, who are you going to touch through me, and how will my life for the next 24 hours bring glory and recognition to you”?

Not a bad way to start the day….

Have a blessed rest of the week.

Regards, Rita

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