FREE shipping on orders of $49 or more! The discount will apply automatically at checkout.

Thoughts On Sacred Things

Thoughts On Sacred Things

Hello and good day!

It is nighttime in Lima Peru as I write this, and much later in the day than I'd hoped to be doing this work.

I fell behind schedule because the traffic in Lima is outrageous.

Take the worst traffic you've ever seen in the United States and multiply it by 50.

I don't say that to be snarky.

I offer it as an objective observation.

The taxi driver who drove us from the airport to the house we are staying in became so dejected at one point during the trip, that he laid his head sideways on the steering wheel, covered his eyes with his hand, and judging by the quiver of his lips, I believe that he was thinking about crying.

Awful traffic is especially bracing after spending several days out in very remote country where the air is fresh, the world is quiet, the mountains seem to touch the sky, the plains are expansive, and the curving fertile valleys run forever and ever.

We were in a place called the Sacred Valley for the last few days.

It is in southern Peru and other than my wife back when we first fell in love, I think that the country out there is the most beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes on.

I've alluded to the Sacred Valley in my last few days of writing.

While I was out there, I couldn't stop thinking about the word sacred.

Have you ever looked up the definition of that word?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word sacred is the expression, "is nothing sacred?".

Did you ever hear that quip?

When I was in elementary school, Dana Carvey used to do an impression of George Bush Sr. on Saturday Night Live.

His catch phrase was "Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent."

Do you remember that?

My buddies and I got a lot of mileage out of parroting that imitation during lunch time. Here is a typical conversation.

"Hey Chris! Trade me your bag of Cheetos for this apple that my dad put in my lunch bag."

That's me setting Chris up.

Now Chris responds in his best George Bush Sr. voice.

"Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent."

One day we were going crazy with the imitation when one of the teachers who had lunch supervisory duty took umbridge with us mocking the president of the United States of America.

Her name was Mrs. Shanks.

She was my fifth-grade English teacher, and I liked her a lot.

She was very serious.

Her hair was completely gray and cut short. She wore grey framed glasses.

You went through several rounds of intense questioning when trying to get a bathroom pass from her.

And she banged hard on the chalk board with a thin wooden stick when asking students to identify the parts of a sentence.

"Stop that right now boys," she said to us, walking up to the lunch table.

"Why Mrs. Shanks?" I asked.

"You don't make fun of the president. Is nothing sacred?" said Mrs. Shanks.

From that point forward, I've always associated the word sacred with not making fun of important people.

I suppose that I've also extrapolated the word out to mean that you oughtn't violate certain social mores.

You shouldn't burp at the table during a nice dinner, for example.

My dad taught me that you should open the door for women and elderly people and give up your seat to them as well.

This is a sort of sacred duty according to my understanding.

I'm sorry to say that Mrs. Shanks put me on a bad path with regards to my comprehension of sacredness.

Of course, it was ironic that Mrs. Shanks shunted me off in the wrong direction given that she was an English teacher whose job it was to teach the correct meanings of words.

So, there I was, hiking around the Sacred Valley, a 41-year-old man, confused about how exactly a valley can be sacred.

It didn't seem to conform with my long-held beliefs, which were based on not doing impressions of presidents and always striving to be as polite as possible.

This question of how a valley can be sacred bedeviled me.

I couldn't conceptualize it.

Finally, I bit the bullet and began to read definitions of the word sacred.

Almost all of the definitions reference God and religion.

Here is one of the definitions that I found: connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

Here is another one: embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion.

I had two thoughts when I read these definitions.

First, I was embarrassed by all the times that I have totally misused the word sacred over the years.

I've been hilariously off the mark many, many times.

Second, I still couldn't make the idea of a sacred valley add up.

The valley itself is not a God in the Incan religious pantheon.

Also, from my understanding, the valley wasn't used in any religious ceremonies.

Rather, it was home to highly productive farmland that supported rapid population growth, which led to the formation of a powerful military that was able to cobble together one of the world's largest empires.

The Incas controlled a 4,000 mile stretch of territory at the height of their power.

I realize that I may be getting a little too pedantic or philosophical over the word sacred.

But I do feel that it led to some pretty good thinking in the end.

And it helped me to understand how just about any place can be sacred.

Even a place with terrible traffic, like Lima.

It seems to me that the best way to connect the valley with God and religion is to imagine that you stumbled upon this highly productive valley about 1,000 years ago.

Not only does the valley produce enough food for every family to have a bunch of kids, but the valley is protected on both sides by 2,000-foot-tall walls, which make an invasion by aggressive outsiders all but impossible.

The valley runs for 500 miles and the ridges are interspersed with snowcapped peaks.

The snow melts in the summer and rushes downhill into the valley.

It rains 6 months out of the year as well.

Water is abundant all year round and easily accessible from a river that flows straight through the middle of the valley.

If you came upon a place like this, where conditions were perfect for sustaining human life, what would you think?

I'd probably think that God had selected my tribe as his one and only chosen people and that the valley was a gift from God especially for us.

I'm running out of space for now and I plan to continue on with this line of thought tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day.


Click here for wonderful chocolate made with pure Nacional cacao.

Watch The Chocolate Bros Review Show.

To learn more about our word-of-mouth program, click here.