Monday, May 6, 2013

Light Reading

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

"If" by Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

I learned this poem in high school speech class (thank you, Mrs. Braswell), and it's stuck with me all of these years. I think back to different passages often and see the parallels in my own life. I have had my share of ups and downs through the years, and during the darkest times, these words come to the front of my mind, reminding me to "Hold on!" We have all been accused, doubted, left waiting, lied about, and even hated. We dream, think, win and lose. We have heard our words twisted to serve someone's agenda, or had everything we've worked for taken away for one reason or another, sometimes by our own actions. We even gamble with our future, only to lose everything and start over!

It's how we deal with these situations that forge us into the people we become in life. I'm sad to say that I've not always reacted in the way I should when things go south, but I'm working on it. I'm keeping my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and praying it isn't the front of an on-coming train. We'll see how it goes.

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