Life Lessons from Two Worlds: A Journey Through Time

In the bustling digital world of Cyber Kompas Online, on a crisp October day in 2007, I found myself immersed in the celebration of a musical maestro and the wisdom of an Irish writer, worlds apart yet strangely connected.

Gesang Martohartono, the revered composer of the soul-stirring Bengawan Solo, had just marked his 90th birthday on the 1st of October. Solo’s community had bestowed upon him a heartfelt gift - a lifelong promise of health. A gesture, some might say, timed with the grace of twilight years. However, delving into Gesang’s “Tips for a Long Life,” published a few months prior, reveals a man who would undoubtedly accept this honour with humble gratitude.

One might expect longevity advice from a maestro to revolve around diets and culinary secrets, but Gesang’s counsel transcended the mundane. His life’s philosophy, simple yet profound, resonates with wisdom we could all embrace: “Enjoy what you have in moderation,” he’d say. “If you’re angry, don’t let it consume you; control your emotions.” And the Javanese wisdom of ‘nrimo,’ acceptance, reminds us that dwelling on the past can only make us sick.

These are pearls of wisdom from a man who likely never crossed paths with Janet Cahill, an Irish writer of a different world. Yet, there’s a remarkable symmetry in their outlook on life. In the pages of the “Word” magazine’s October 2007 edition, Janet Cahill unfolds her belief: “Our life is a book of three chapters: the past, the present, and the future. The past is gone, stowed away; the present is our daily companion, and the future remains locked, its key held by God.”

I, too, aspire to embrace their wisdom, to cease viewing past triumphs and failures as the architects of my present self. As the maestro wisely quips, “If it’s already happened, then it’s done.” The essence of now lies in my ability to craft beauty for God, for others, and for myself. In Janet Cahill’s vision, the future remains an enigma, and it’s in accepting this uncertainty that we find serenity.

Between Gesang, the maestro of Bengawan Solo, and Janet Cahill, the Irish storyteller, words of profound wisdom bridge the gaps of time and culture. In their shared insights, we discover a timeless truth - that life’s most valuable lessons transcend borders and backgrounds, echoing through the ages.


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