Friday, October 24, 2008

life is beautiful.

God is good, isn’t He?

I sit here this morning in my little office space, watching the rain pour down outside, and for some reason I can’t get this poem out of my head: “Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal…”

We had to memorize two stanzas of Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life” when I was in the eighth grade, and for better or worse, those two stanzas are the only ones I remember. So imagine my surprise when this morning, Longfellow’s poem (written in 1838) seemed to echo the feelings I have in 2008.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act to each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait.

I bolded my favorite lines, lines that resonate with me this morning. I love that God speaks to me in poetry, reminding me that there is “nothing new under the sun,” that life is fleeting, and it’s beautiful, and I can find my place in it, with His help. I see Him working in me, and I love what He's doing. Life is beautiful.

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