Sunday, November 13, 2005

Where sin and striving cease---


When on my day of life the night is falling,
And in the winds from unsunned spaces blown,
I hear far voices out of darkness calling
My feet to paths unknown;
Thou who hast made my home of life so pleasant,
Leave not its tenant when its walls decay,
O Love devine, O Helper ever present,
Be Thou my strength and stay!
Be near me when all else is from me drifting.

Earth, sky, home's pictures, days of shade and shine
And kindly faces to my own uplifting,
The love which answers mine.

I have but Thee, Oh Father! Let thy spirit
Be with me then to comfort and uphold;
No gate of pearl, no branch of palm,
I merit,
Nor streets of shining gold.
Suffice it if--my good and ill unreckoned,
And both forgiven through Thy abounding grace---
I find myself by hands familiar beckoned
Unto my fitting place;
Some humble door among Thy many mansions,
Some sheltering shade where sin and striving cease,
And flows forever through heaven's green expansions
The river of Thy place.
There, from the music round about me stealing,
I fain would learn the new and holy song,
And find, at last, beneath Thy trees of healing,
The life for which I long.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

One Plain Rule

"There is only one plain rule of life, eternally binding and independent of all variations in creeds, and in the interpretations of creeds, embracing equally the greatest moralities and the smallest; it is this---- try thyself unweariedly till thou findest the highest thing thou art capable of doing, faculties and outward circumstances being duly considered, and then do it."
---John Stuart Mill

This quote is a tall order but who can deny the truth in it, or how the world would profit if we all considered this when entering life as an adult. Trying ourselves to find out our capabilities is no small project in itself.
Balancing that with our faculties and outward circumstances, certainly the other half of the equation, takes a long hard look as well.

The Twang Thang

For those of you who don’t get the “Twang thang” in country music and like that “thumping from the city like the sounds of Pdiddy?" You occasionally miss some good lyrics. Country music is music about life, pretty and not so pretty. Rich in Americana, songs about home, family, God and country with a 50’s rock and roll beat. Anyway, if not convinced my point was simply to share a few lines from a song getting a lot of air play now. The title “That’s Something to be Proud of” or something like that, is a story about a man who when young sat listening to his father tell stories of the good old days when they walked five miles uphill, both ways, to school, fought heroically in the war; one line is “your uncle and me made a fearsome pair, flying F 15s through hostile air.” Anyway, the boy grew up and didn’t make all the same choices of his father, “when I turned 18 I was bound for anywhere else”. He ends up north of L.A. out of money, working maximum hours for minimum wage, falls in love, has a child, sells his muscle car for a foreign job and asks his Dad if he is ashamed of the way he turned out and wonders if he let his father down. The following are the lines I like-----
The father responds-

“Well he lowered his voice, and raised his brow;
and said,’ now you listen to me now’
That’s something to be proud of
Something to hang your hat on,
No need to make a million,
Just be thankful to be working.

If you’re doing what your able,
To put food on the table
Providing for the ones you love,
That’s something to be proud of.

Well, that’s something to be proud of
That’s something to hang your hat on,
That’s a chin held high
If a tear falls down
Keep your gut sucked in
And your chest stuck out,

If all you really do is the best you can,
You did it man!
And that’s something to be proud of!"

Although this may not embody man's entire purpose, it is a good start and every child needs to feel this from his parents.

Sweepings on the tomb

The imperfect thing or thought,
the fervid yeastliness of youth,
The dubious doubt, the twilight truth,
The work that for the passing day was wrought,
The schemes that came to naught,
The sketch half-way twixt verse and prose,
That mocks the finished picture true,
The splinters whence the statue grew,
The scaffolding 'neath which the palace rose,
The vague abortive throes,
And crudities of joy or gloom:--
In kind oblivion let them be!
Nor has the dead worse foe than he
Who rakes these sweepings of the artist's room,
And piles them on his tomb.

When I read this the first few times I didn't get it. After further thought, I think I found his meaning. Each of us, on our journey, starts, stops, aborts and concludes many endeavors.
It is not always pretty as we begin a work, and the process itself may leave refuse, but one must not judge a person by the refuse, but rather the intent and finished project. Whadaya think?