Thursday, May 19, 2005

Stirring Within

On my visit to Lincoln City last weekend I scored a great old book. As I was thumbing through it I read the following paragraph in the introduction---

My dear Mr. Burke,-- You will agree with me that every one must decide and direct his own course in life, and the only service friends can afford is to give us the data from which we must draw our own conclusions and decide our course. Allow me, then, to sit beside you and look over the field of life and see what are its aspects.
Tell me Mr. your name, do you not feel a spirit stirring within you that longs to know, to do, and to dare; to hold converse with the great world of thought, and hold before you some high and noble object to which the vigor of your mind and the strength of your arm may be given?
Do you not have longings like these, which you breathe to no one, and which you feel must be heeded, or you will pass through life unsatisfied and regretful? I am sure you have them, and they will forever cling round your heart till you obey their mandate.
They are the voices of that nature which God has given you, and which, when obeyed, will bless you and your fellow-men.
Now all this might be true, and yet it might be your duty not to follow that course. If your duty to your family or parents demands that you take another course, I shall rejoice to see you take that other course. The path of duty is where we all ought to walk, be that where it may.

I just love that. Such practical advice and nearly every one I have ever met knows that stirring to "know, to do and to dare" something noble we can throw ourselves into. I also like the way he balances these inner longings with our duty.
A word somewhat out of style today. But certainly a big part of manhood is doing our duty, even though it doesn't offer the same dare or risks.


fcb4 said...

Hummm...this post leaves me befuddled, the end seems to cancel out the start. How can one draw any real conclusions from it? If one is all a boil with the first reality, how does one find contentment in the latter?

FCB said...

I'm not sure I'd say the end cancels out the first to me but rather helps give us perspective.
We are a boil inside and want to launch out on some noble endeavor, but if not careful we can forget the higher priority, which he lists as "duty". There have been times in my life when inspired to "do" in a strong way. So strong, that I let duty fall to the wayside. Had I been mindful to duty first, I could have abreviated my "inspired way" and not neglected the other. Sometimes when we are young, we go off in directions that we find out later, were not so inspired. I take his word to mean, think things through, count the cost, use wisdom, and if it is of God, it will fit and not cause you to neglect duty. Something like that.
I'm afraid duty rarely has the romance surrounding it that a new challenge has. I could almost go so far as to say it never does. Duty is routine, requires sacrifice and isn't that glamorous. Vision has no bounds, is filled with rapture, hasn't hit the floor yet with all of its impending duties, but they will come and if not careful, we can be looking for a new vision. Some visions are from God and as you know, some are from caffeine. Duty is a strong consideration in determining direction. Don't you think?