Life leaves its mark on everyone:
a bruise, a scrape, a scar.
But none of these define us.
There is more to who we are.
We cannot alter circumstance;
God only holds that power.
We cannot stop or start the rain
that falls on every flower.
It is not ours to shift the winds
of fortune, foul or fair.
Nor can we pick the troubles
we find easiest to bear.
Life is good and life is hard.
Sometimes, injustice reigns.
We’ll have our share of pleasures, and
we’ll have our share of pains.
We won’t control the ratio or
the way the days unwind.
The thing we will control is how
we use the heart and mind.
For hearts and minds belong to us;
that stewardship is ours.
In them is found the strength to grow
from bruises, scrapes, and scars…
Strength in the way we wear them and
the wisdom that we earn,
the way we choose to bear them and
the things we choose to learn.
This life’s a tough course. We signed on
for better and for worse.
Some blessings only come by
shouldering the burdens first.
So if the load should leave a scar,
accept it and prevail.
When ill winds rock life’s boat, look up.
Take heart. Ours is the sail.
I’m thinking about life a lot recently and observing that many of us as individuals and all of us as a society are assailed just now by winds that don’t necessarily seem so friendly. These are trying times, and this poem is just an attempt to sort of sail my way through some of my own concerns and discomfort. It helps to be reminded that I am able to control very little but my own actions and reactions…which is a good thing, because that in itself is a full-time job. It also helps to remember that the Lord has a full-time job too (one He does quite perfectly), and it has a lot more to do with helping us get to our final destination than it does with our desire for an easy passage.
I guess the takeaway message to myself about living well is to be less naive and more prepared, adopt realistic expectations, trust that God has things well in hand, do (with His guidance) my specific part, and then ride this “turn on earth” out with as much willingness, hope, grace, and gratitude as possible. Easy, right? But hey, we don’t have to be perfect; we just have to be trying…and trusting the One who has made all of this possible for us.
What is that old saying? “We cannot control the wind, we can only adjust our sails.” But that’s a lot. In fact, it’s everything.