What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see in broad daylight, streams full of stars like skies at night.
No time to turn at beauty's glance, and watch her feet how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can enrich that smile her mouth began.
A poor life this if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.
(W.H Davies 1871-1940)
In primary school then, we were made to memorise several poems and this one was one of them. I had completely forgotten all about it when I ran accross the poem again recently and I laughed at myself when I, for the first time, actually understood what the poem was all about!
I must have been barely 7 or 8 years old then and my only concern was just to ensure that I recited the poem (whatever I thought of it) for the audience without missing a line. At the end of the recital, I'd wait dutifully for the applause I knew was coming and when it was done, I'd courtesy and return to my seat, my heart pounding in my chest the whole time!
But now, about 20years later, I read that poem and find that it holds so much meaning. What indeed is this life "if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare"? You know, like they say, stop and smell the roses!
I believe that if we let it, life will just happen to us. Afterall, if we just sat and did nothing, the day would break and night would fall. Time would simply pass. And that's all our lives will be in the larger scheme of things - A passage of time. Sad if you ask me! On the other hand, we can actually make life happen for us and enjoy it the whole time!
A few weeks ago, it seemed like I was being inundated with so much bad news that i felt overwhelmed! I had challenges with my health, two of my sisters got knocked down by a hit-and-run driver, just as two of them were getting better, one of them reacted severely to one of the drugs she was taking and it put her life on the line, a neighbour was seriously ill and even her husband feared for her life, a friend's sister lost her baby yet again, my car got bashed (yet again) by a careless danfo driver ...... the list could go on. It seemed like I was placed in such a vulnerable position that news such as Christians in India being killed which obviously seems like a remote problem made me feel like it was all happening in my own back yard! (Not that it shouldn't or doesn't concern me....)
Everything was happening all at the same time and I found my mind consumed with the problems and challenges that were before me. Laughter seemed so far away and I even questioned my faith at some point. The truth however is that these things are a part of the life we live. Of course some of our problems are self inflicted and so could be avoided in the first place but there are other problems that still come to us even after it seems we'd played all our cards right.
Something however kept me going - faith. My faith in God that everything would be alright in the end kept me forging ahead and helped me make the right decisions at each turn. That faith helped from time to time, to look away from my avalanche of problems and count for my self those things for which I am grateful. It made me see that everything may not necessarily work out the way I planned, but would all work out for my good. Sometimes I felt that my faith was useless and I sought to squelch it but it would not be quenched, a flicker remained and gradually that flicker was fanned into a huge flame by the little victories I recorded each day.
Did you ever watch that animated movie "Prince of Egypt"? I love that movie especially the lyrics of one of its soundtracks - "When you believe".
".......Now we are not afraid, though we know there's much to fear.
We were moving mountains long before we knew we could......
....there can be miracles, when you believe, though hope is frail
it's hard to kill.
Who knows what miracle you can achieve, If you believe, somehow you will......"
That song touches a special spot in my heart and makes that bible story ever so vivid before my eyes. A classic case of overcoming all odds to reach the finish line. It reminds me that even though sometimes we cannot choose the challenges we face each day, we can make the choice to surmount them or be surmounted by them. We can make the choice to sing even when all around us seem to draw tears from our eyes. We can choose to have faith or be consumed by fear. We can choose to focus on our problems or to count our blessings. Whatever the case, the choice really does ultimately lie with us.
So I ask again - "What indeed is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?"