Who of us can look at the scenes of devestation before us and not think, "How does one go on? What about all the work that's been lost? What about the dreams that died? What about the work involved just to clean things up, not to mention move into the future?"
I know I've hoped that leaders will arise in Japan... leaders with a vision who can say, "We can move ahead! We can rebuild! All is not lost!" I've hoped that brave people will fix nuclear reactors, caring people will search for survivors, compassionate people will attend to the sick, give water to the thirsty... Run to the darkness instead of shrinking in its face.
The images make my measly losses pale in comparison. I whine about a few small losses. What's wong with me? Yet, one thing we humans share in common in this life: Setbacks. We can identify with people caught off guard by hardship. (Many times more than those who seem to sail through nothing but calm waters) We can identify with the men on the road in the Bible said, "But, we had hoped." (Luke 24:21) They hoped that now was the time when all things would be made right. Justice. Peace.
Somehow, though we must accept that earthquakes, downturns, setbacks and heartbreaks still happen in this world. We had hoped that somehow technology could allow our generation to escape it. We hoped it wouldn't hit us... our family... our company...our country...our careers. We had hoped we'd be spared.
Yet, as I experience both the scenes on CNN and the setbacks in my own life and those of my friends, I think of one of the few poems I can actually recall from grade school. It's Joachin Miller's, Columbus with its repeated chorus: "Sail on! Sail on! Sail on! and on!" Speaking of a 15th century sailor on unpredictable seas it says," Behind him lay the gray Azores.. Behind him not the ghost of shores, Before him only shoreless seas." In other words, there's no quick and easy safe harbor in site for this ship. He's no longer in a safe harbor. He's out there... risking it all to do what he believes in.
The poet continues: "My men grow mutinous day by day: My men grow ghastly wan and weak... What shall I say, brave Admiral, say, If we sight naught but seas at dawn?" In other words, even his own don't quite understand why he does what he does. The courageous Captain answers: "Why, you shall say at break of day, 'Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'" Translation: Don't give up! There's another shore ahead if you will hold on.
How about you? When you have a vision for life and the shore isn't close enough to see, how do you feel? Anxious? Lost? Alone? Confused? Its at those times that no amount of hype or postive self- help can answer the inner longing. That's when I turn to the Psalms, "I will lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1,2)
I can do the best I can to care for my body, clear the clutter and do my best to be prepare like a good scout, but storms still come. Things I can't control will get to me and make me wish I had more control. I will wish this world wasn't so unpredictable, people so unpredictable, and my own faith so fickle. I will wonder why things aren't easier.
I know Winston Churchill had it right when through his own challenges was able to tell the rest of us, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts." Will I have the courage to continue?
Will you have the courage to continue? Continue do do what you do best? Sail on. Write on. Lead on. Paint on. Pray on. Love our Spouses on. Parent on. Care about people we've never met on. Believe that God is bigger than your present setback on.??
on... and on... and on...
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