Monday, December 28, 2015

No Ifs, Ands, or Buts about it

Reading Lessons 361-365, I was reminded that for a good part of my life I was caught up in the idea that I was alone, and IF anything were to be done, I would have to do it.

In an English class in my senior year in high school, I came across Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If.”  I found it very inspiring and taped it to my portable Remington typewriter case as I went off to Kalamazoo College in 1959.   It gave me courage as I faced the immense challenges of college life, and after all, I wanted to be a “manly man.”

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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!

Much later, 1986, I came across A Course in Miracles, and I learned that I was not alone, experiencing my true dependence.

from Lessons 361-365:

And IF I need a word to help me, He
will give it to me. IF I need a thought,
that will He also give. And IF I need
but stillness and a tranquil, open mind,
these are the gifts I will receive of Him.
He is in charge by my request. And He
will hear and answer me, because He speaks
for God my Father and His holy Son.

from the Epilogue:

                           You do not walk alone.
God's angels hover near and all about.
His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure;
that I will never leave you comfortless.