I am thankful for Mr. McFerrin. Second reason…
Mind boggled yet? But wait, there’s more!–next week.
I am thankful for the ability to ponder. To thoughtfully consider. To “split infinitives” as I please. To think. I think…
Thoughtful Thursdays are one opportunity for me to share and showcase some of the ideas, sayings, proverbs, quotations and clichés that inspire and motivate me.
Henley’s poem, “Invictus” inspired me before I came to Believe. There are other poems that have moved me even more. This piece by Dorothea Day is one.
Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.
Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.
I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.
Day, like Henley, is virtually unknown, save for (this) one poem. I have read (but haven’t found solid documentation) that, as a young lady, she admired Henley’s self reliant perspectives. She became a Believer later in life and penned this response to Henley’s work. It may also be found under the title “My Captain.”
I am thankful for Bobby McFerrin, vocalist par excellence, best known for today’s selection, which was popular back in 1988.
But please, do not let this be the only McFerrin you ever hear. (Of course, if you stay tuned, that’s easily remedied.) His is a mind boggling talent.
I am thankful for ceramics, mugs or cups in particular, for coffee and tea. I find that both metal and plastics lend a faint, but noticeable taste to the drink. Maybe it’s simply from where my lips touch. Maybe not. It makes a difference to me. And since I enjoy these heavenly gifts, I like to take some baby steps toward full blown snobbery. But since full blown snobbery is still a bit more expensive, both financially and temporally, than what I am will to sacrifice for at this juncture, baby steps is just fine.
The one pictured is my go-to for now. At home, I usually forgo the lid. There are ceramic mugs that are double walled, for better insulation; haven’t tried any of those. Used to have a beautiful Japanese tea set…can’t recall what happened to it. A blue tinted gray with black bamboo leaf motif. Not that I used it much. I’ve learned that some things do much better with continuous use rather than being “eyes only.” My cast iron set is like that…but that’s for another post.
I am thankful for the ability to ponder. To thoughtfully consider. To “split infinitives” as I please. To think. I think… Thoughtful Thursdays are one opportunity for me to share and showcase some of the ideas, sayings, proverbs, quotations and clichés that inspire and motivate me. Here’s a well known poem by William Ernest Henley entitled “Invictus“
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
Many of you have probably read or heard that poem at one point in time or another, especially if you saw the movie (starring Morgan Freeman) of the same title. Nelson Mandela focused on this poem during his incarceration, often quoting it to other prisoners for inspiration. This poem was the “last statement” of Timothy McVeigh (Murrah Building bomber) on his way to the execution chamber. What you may not have known is the background story of William Ernest Henley, who, in spite of his poem, is still almost completely unknown. Henley had tuberculosis of the bone (“Pott’s Disease”) at age 12 (14?) and had one leg amputated just below the knee years later. His doctor thought his other leg would have to be amputated; Henley got a second opinion and was able to save his remaining foot after several surgeries. Between this and “an impoverished childhood”–Henley developed a very personal understanding of Stoicism, out of which this poem was penned. It is said that Henley was “a self-declared militant humanist who hated the Christian faith, wrote this poem, “The Invictus,” (“unconquered” in Latin) with the intention of shaking his fist in defiance at the very thought of a sovereign God ruling over him.” With the challenges he faced, I can understand why he might have felt that way. Don’t agree with his…conclusion as a “militant humanist” (if true), but I understand. The inspiration for me initially was not that I was the master of all I survey or some such nonsense, but that I was master of how I chose to respond to what happened to me and that’s still true for me today.
Henley edited the Scots Observer (which later became the National Observer), through which he befriended writer Rudyard Kipling, and the Magazine of Art, in which he lauded the work of emerging artists James McNeill Whistler and Auguste Rodin. Henley was a close friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, who reportedly based his Long John Silver character in Treasure Island in part on Henley.1
That’s why I enjoy learning the backstory as a general rule. To steal a once well known line, “And now you know, the…rest of the story.”
I am thankful that my mother had an excellent time with her brother in Florida for the last two weeks. She really needed some time for herself.
I am also thankful she’s back safe, in spite of the airline issues that inevitably happen.
I am especially thankful she’s back to help watch the kids–she’s got a lot more patience than I do.
I am thankful for Rolly paper. That’s what the kids called it anyway. Bath tissue. Strikin paper. Better than corn cobs, crumpled newspaper or catalog pages. Definitely better than wet leaves. Not as good as a bidet, but not everyone has those.