Don't get me wrong. These men were flesh and blood and, although I do not know the particulars, I am 100% convinced that they too screwed the pooches of their lives. I will not name or describe them: This fealty is mine as yours is yours ... arising softly as on a tendril of wood smoke.
Sometimes I could weep with gratitude where the wood smoke rises, yet when did weeping ever tell the tale? I have longed to repay or requite the fealty I owe, but like the men to whom I feel I owe it, the fealty seems unconcerned. These men are dead, like all good things, and the fealty is my responsibility, not theirs.
Shall I praise them by way of expressing or leavening the debt I owe? How shall I be free of what I cannot help but think of as a wondrous gift? How can I be worthy of that gift? I can hear the shylocks answering, "adore me ... bow down and kiss my ring... build spires to my glory ... sing hymns of greatness... make a religion...give me credit." I can hear them and find them on every street corner, within and without. It's common enough, but it's ick-ick-ick.
My fealty (for lack of a better word) is serious to me, but what is it and how can I meet its implicit challenge? Who loves this love? Zen Buddhists may offer a sparkly ring to kiss: "There is no separation. There is nothing else." Their fealty is theirs as mine is mine.
On a tendril of wood smoke I owe a debt. It cannot be repaid (these guys are dead, among other things) and yet I would give my left nut to repay it. "But how, how, how?!" my heart and mind can yowl.
There are times when I dislike the answer that rises up, not least because it is an answer that feels endlessly incomplete. Listen to me, Adam!
Kiss the rings you need to kiss.
Weep the tears you need to weep.
Acknowledge whatever fealty there be.
Be the light you have been gifted.
And when the mind caterwauls, "but how, how, how?!" then trust yourself and know the light that cannot be adored or owed or thanked.
And then ... and then ...
Return to your regularly-scheduled pooch-screwings.