Life is not a dream so dark

Life by Charlotte Bronte

Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall?

Rapidly, merrily,
Life’s sunny hours flit by,
Gratefully, cheerily,
Enjoy them as they fly!

What though Death at times steps in
And calls our Best away?
What though sorrow seems to win,
O’er hope, a heavy sway?
Yet hope again elastic springs,
Unconquered, though she fell;
Still buoyant are her golden wings,
Still strong to bear us well.
Manfully, fearlessly,
The day of trial bear,
For gloriously, victoriously,
Can courage quell despair !

Life, as a result of improperly discharged free will, is a mixed bag. Even if you made perfect decisions, never divulged in complaint, gossip or disdain and rose above it all at every turn, you would still face challenges. We affect one another and no man is an island unto himself.

As John Donne explained so beautifully in his poem No Man is an Island:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

You are a part of the brotherhood of mankind. Your actions, your every action affects others in some way. Some use this fact to excuse themselves from the pursuit of perfection and constant improvement. They resign themselves to mediocrity and say “why bother,” waiting, I suppose, for some great calamity or perhaps a great spiritual or secular leader to inspire them out of their lethargic, laissez-faire approach to living.

Others see this fact as the opportunity of opportunities. There is immense leverage in our relatedness one to another. You cannot always see the results of your actions, but results there are. What you do – the decisions you make, that words you speak, the actions you take – invariably affects others beyond you.

Never meet a challenge with exasperation. Resist the temptation to say “why me?” for those two words thusly arranged open the door to impotence and despair. Look, instead, to be both the immovable object and the irresistible force in your world. Be the person in whose hands all things are handled with respect, assurance, diligence and care.

If you deliberately choose to receive anything that comes to you with equanimity, then your influence will be calming and balancing. If, instead, you are tossed and turned by every little thing that comes your way, reacting, wishing it were different, blaming life, cursing God or accusing your fellows for dealing poor you a bad hand, then your influence will only serve to perpetuate, if not exacerbate, chaos.

Your expression influences the world around you. Whether it is accepted or rejected, it has an influence. Wise is the person who strives for the perfect expression in every instance and at peace is the person who cares not how his perfect influence is received. The greatest service you can render your fellow man is to do your part, no matter what.

“Life is not,” as Ms. Bronte wisely penned, “a dream so dark as sages say.” Your future can and should be bright as you are consistent in this regard. Once you realize that “Life’s sunny hours flit by, [g]ratefully, cheerily,” then you can “[e]njoy them as they fly!”

Have a great weekend!

7 thoughts on “Life is not a dream so dark

  • This is the crux of living a meaningful life. The balance between doing the right thing at the right time simply because it is the right thing, and then not caring how people react to your actions is the only thing that will truly give you freedom. While I appreciate inspiration and a true leader, I realize that the only way that you can always do the right thing at the right time is to do it yourself, and to care so deeply about doing it that inspiration is no longer needed to “remind” you. It needs to be ingrained in your very center. Remember: this ability is innate to every person, it just needs to be uncovered. Thank you for writing these things that so desperately need to be written and understood.

    • A cursory review of history will reveal that perfect expression is rarely well-received by human beings who are convinced that man does not have the potential to be perfect. Such expression blows the lid off the bottle in which humanity has stuffed itself and as we know, people tend to hate to admit that they were wrong.

      When and if your expression is perfect, you needn’t worry about how it is received, for it will have been given in the best (kindest, wisest, least energy for the needed impact) way. You needn’t apologize in false humility neither should you seek to rub it in, for your greatest hope in perfect expression is that others have the best possible chance to accept and then complement what you have offered.

      If, however, your expression misses the mark and falls below the the best you could have done, you are wise to be deeply concerned about how you can raise the standard moving forward.

  • A powerful call today. It’s great to have your words kick of the weekend. Makes for a different experience instead of just “checking out” from the work week.

  • No matter what your postings always live up to your tag line “Onward and Upward!” That has been and is a great service and inspiration to me. Thanks!

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