Theodora Chan Feraco Myth/Sci-Fi Period 5 21 October 2012 Hidden Life Lessons “You will be left alone, unable to understand in a world where nothing lives anymore as you though it did…You’ll know when you have lost the strength to see the way you once did. You’ll be alone and wander looking for the life that’s gone or some eternal life you have to find…Your eyes have changed. You are crying. You never cried before. It’s not like you. Why am I to die, you to wander alone? It that the way it is with friends?” “Gilgamesh sat hushed as his friend’s eyes stilled. In his silence he reached out to touch the friend whom he had lost.” This was the most heart-wrenching part of the epic (in my opinion). Someone was losing the only best friend he has found in his two thirds god and third human life. There was no other equal who could match his strength and power. And he was just being ripped away from him for no reason other than the fact that the gods have dictated someone has to die. And this segment reflects a perfectly normal reaction from someone who doesn’t understand why everything is happening to him. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is finding out what to do with yourself after a great loss. Yet even if Enkidu no longer walked on the face of the earth, he is still technically there with Gilgamesh in spirit. Although everything he does reminds him of his best friend, he can still contribute to their relationship, one-sided as it is. Gilgamesh still has the ability to add to their friendship by honoring all that they have done together and continually building upon experiences that he has yet to face. After all: “Death ends a life, not a relationship”- Robert Benchiely “He was no more a king but just a man who now had lost his way” Before he had found his perfect playmate, Gilgamesh thought he was everything the world wished to be: strong, brave, pretty much all-powerful, attractive, and envied. And he exploited these traits without a second thought because what was on his heart was not his state of mind if he were to lose something precious (because after all, what had he to lose?) but rather how can he gain more than he already has? And the gods did him a favor of sorts, ironic as it is by giving him Enkidu, only to later take Enkidu away later on. It was with this dear friend that he had his best memories because he has finally found something that did not require his brute strength and authority to gain attention and respect. And yet, none of his features mattered anymore because he could not do anything to prevent the death of Enkidu. Physical brawn can serve no purpose when it comes to nursing emotional and spiritual wounds. So as simple and cliché as it sounds, sometimes it is better to invest in emotional flexibility and dexterity than improving the outward looks and physical matter. For whatever the state the heart is in, it will be reflected outwardly. But there is still the grieving factor to address: The hardest thing to do is to let go of the past. “You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories” – Stanislaw J. Lee Just as Gilgamesh spend who knows how many days with Siduri “wash away” all his pain and sufferings, only to have them come crashing down again when he regained full consciousness. It is like closing your eyes. That will shut out reality, but the memories are seared into the insides of our eyelids whether we like it or not. Either way, with our eyes open or closed, we have to face either one. With our eyes open, we have to grudgingly keep treading on, but with our eyes closed, we have to face whatever we have left behind. And with that, automatic renewal is not expected or realistic (even if the victim in twothirds god.) The grace period that Gilgamesh went through after the Mashu run is expected and accepted by everyone. No one can be emotionally well after a best and closest friend has left the existence of this earth. A time of recovery and reestablishment is normal and needed so that the refining process can proceed. Gilgamesh was able to find out things in life that he would not have learned if Enkidu did not leave him, such as: life can’t just be handed to you like a platter of hors d’ oeuvres of your choice. Sometimes, life has to be figured out on your own because it’s the only thing that will make you stronger This reminds of a cycle in life that I like to connect the trials and tribulations in life. (I tend to used this for a lot of my analogies, but it never gets old.) Every person starts out as a fresh cut gem from the bedrock; we are dull, opaque, scratched, and bluntly put, unattractive. But there is a reason why those geologists have spend hours digging us up from the ground. We hold the potential to one day perch on top of a shiny engagement ring. But there is a long process awaiting us before we get to sit in that seat of honor. We have to get cut. Anything that is in the way, excess matter (exercising if you look at it that way), or not of the gem is eliminated. Harsh as it sounds, but is there any other way to refine the gem to its finest degree? Next, this little rock will be bathed in acids and chemicals that clean the dullness and erase the cloudy covering that prevents the true color to shine. Along with a nice bake in a high pressured oven of sorts that will be the finishing touch of the jewel (notice the change in title of said object.) After these long tedious processes will this jewel be ready to be presented on a ring, necklace or any other piece of jewelry. Only then can this gem-turned-jewel shine with its brightest sparkle because all of its defects have been taken away. A person’s life can be paralleled with the making of a jewel. Every hardship that is encountered in life has the ability to refine us and teach us life lessons. As painful as they get, every fiery hell (or furnace in this matter) that is endured will be worth it in the end because every cycle is making us clearer and shinier than before. Going along with his analogy, every Mashu passage that we run in any circumstance is the darkest hours of a life. But take heart! There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Whether we have to dig our way through to get to the light, or if there is someone leading the way, there will be peace in the end. “Until before him when it seemed there was no end to loneliness a valley can in view sprinkled with precious stones and fruit-filled vines. “ And even in this place of rest and rejuvenation, there will be trials and subjugations with oneself. Gilgamesh receives his hardest and worst test yet as he is forced to meet head to head with the issues he tried to run away from. He goes into denial (I believe I can stay awake for seven da-….*snore*) and uncontrolled rage and anger (*smash every stone that was key to gaining eternal life*). And this refining process is pretty much never ending. Nothing in our human power can stop fate from occurring or bombarding us with obstacle after obstacle. We live in a world were progression is the only way forward and digression the only way backward. There is no place where time and duration stops for us to stand with our mouths open to contemplate the mysteries of this world. To move forward is to progress, to stay in the same place is technically still digression. To summarize the vast array of points that Gilgamesh has made: It’s not the end of the world when something disastrous happens to you, what how we get out of this hole that makes life meaningful. Again, there are so many events that are out of our control, it is what we make of them that makes a difference. Memories can be a both a blessing and a pain in the rear. It brings back so many warm fuzzies, but it prevents us from moving forward and tackling the present monsters in life. We are gems to be turned into jewels, but without the intense refining processes, we cannot be the best of what we can be.