“When you are as old as I, my dear
And I hope that you never are…
You could squander away or sequester
A drop of a precious year…”
Sequester is one of those “old” words. The syllables tumble over the tongue as it is spoken. For a long time when I was growing up, I would read this word and thought it had something to do with searching for a dream – after all – “quest” is right smack-dab in the middle of it.
I think I was in high school or jr hi before I figured out the true definition. I was reading one of those classics, but can’t remember which one….. Bronte, Hawthorne, Twain? Oh well…what I do remember is sitting in my small town library in front of the fan on a hot summer day and being stunned. It changed that picture in my head that words always make.
Sequester, v. , to isolate, hide away.
“What good is a field on a fine summer night
When you sit all alone with the weeds?
Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite
You spit out your teeth with the seeds?”
Sequester will always be mixed definition for me. I liked my first definition. I liked thinking it was partly a “quest”. And as I sat in front of that fan with its soft hum, I figured that it was a little of both. When I “sequester” myself, I am doing a bunch of things that I don’t usually do, and as I do, I learn something new about myself.
Quest – v., search for something.
I’ve decided that as I approach this new school year, I need this combined definition once again. At this point, my school is still set to open, but we are still a couple weeks out, so anything could happen. If I can just lift my chin a little higher if we sequester once again, I can still be on that quest together with my students even if we are far apart. Our Father has a way of closing gaps in all things.
“Now when the drearies do attack
And a siege of the sads begins
I just throw these noble shoulders back
And lift these noble chins…”
Quests are good for the soul. Jesus was on a quest the last three years of His life. At times, he sequestered himself to pray, to quest after His Father’s face, maybe to beat back the “sads” away and regain the strength to “throw [those] noble shoulders back” into his journey.
“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Mark 5:16
So tonight as I yawn and think about sequestering myself for the night, I am singing this song in my head. (Actually, it’s been singing in my head most of the night.) Berthe in “Pippin” is one of those roles that I have wanted to sing since Ben Vereen’s performance caught my attention in the 70’s (I actually wanted to sing Ben Vereen’s part back in my 20’s). The good part – I wouldn’t even have to use make-up to play Berthe now. The lyrics ring a little clearer as well.
I think, “Sequestering the quest” is my new motto for the last half of my 2020 Vision. Berte isn’t really good at resting on her morals in this play, but that’s okay. That’s why its called “acting”. Maybe someday, I’ll stand on the OHIO Theatre stage in Loudonville, OH, once again and sing it. As for now, it is time to sequester and think a little more about this quest…and then I’ll rest on my morals.