It was quite a shock at first, not knowing who or where I was. However, the staff was so kind and the atmosphere so pleasant at the Rosebud Recovery Center that I soon began to feel quite at home. If I had imagined such a place existed before my accident, or illness, or whatever it was, I would certainly have sought it out.
How can I explain the wonders of the Rosebud (as the patrons refer to it)? Every day I awoke to a solitary meal in my room or on my patio, and then I was free to amuse myself with any number of enjoyable activities in the most idyllic setting imaginable. All types of venues were available for watching or participating in various sports or events, and there was never a charge or gratuity exacted—in fact, as far as I could tell, I had no need for money at all.
I was encouraged by the staff to indulge myself in any and every interest I desired, in the hope that I might awaken myself to my true identity. You see, for one reason or another, none of the residents at the Rosebud had any idea who he was. We had all been given a battery of psychological profiles and then provided with a list of activities considered most likely to stimulate our minds to remember, or discover, who we were.
Unfortunately, though I spent weeks pandering to my every whim, I never recovered any sense of my true identity. I simply squandered my time in mindless dissipation: playing golf, fishing or going to the amusement park (by the way, the Mind-Morpher is one mean coaster, if you ever get the chance to ride it—although, if you do, I doubt you will remember I told you this). Worse yet, I did not learn anything about anyone else, either. We were all so engrossed in discovering ourselves that there was no social interaction beyond that necessary to complete a game of baseball, or the like.
This sense of mindlessness must have been what finally led me to the library. It was, as I expected, a spectacular building with marble staircases, cavernous halls, stacks with rolling ladders and, of course, librarians.
I walked up to the nearest desk and confessed to a smiling, bespectacled woman, “I need your help.”
“I would be glad to help you, sir,” she replied on cue.
“Well, like everyone else here, I have been trying to discover myself. I have spent enough days in self-indulgent pursuits to realize that they are not the answer to my problem, so I came here to try a more cerebral approach.”
“You have come to the right place. We have an extensive collection of self-help titles that will lead you step-by-step to the activities which will reveal your true identity.”
“No. I don’t think you understand. I am not looking for more time-killing, self-referential activities. I am looking for inspiration through literature.”
“But, sir, our research shows that you will only find yourself through your collected experiences. There is no book that can tell you who you are.”
“That’s it,” I blurted out. “That’s the answer!”
“A Bible! I need a Bible! That’s the book that will tell me who I am!”
“Shhh! Really, sir, keep your voice down.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shout. Just direct me toward the Bible, and I promise to be quiet for the rest of my visit.”
“I would if I could, sir, but we do not have a Bible in our stacks. We have a great collection of…”
“No Bible? Why on earth not?”
“On earth, sir? . . . Never mind. Let me get someone to help you back to your room…”
“Listen. All I want is a Bible. How is a person supposed to figure out who he is without studying the words of the one who made him? I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this sooner. I guess I was so consumed with my ‘self-discovery’ process that I just…”
At that moment, the orderlies whisked me away and my days at the Rosebud were over. That is what they do there whenever someone “blossoms,” as it is called. The only way to stay there is to remain a bud. Once you look beyond self and recognize your need for God, you are instantly removed and transported to a much better place. Sadly, I am told, it is becoming less and less common.
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