In 1883 Rudyard Kipling was a Junior Editor who would with the Editor’s assent intersperse his poems in the left-over spaces of the weekly gazette. After three years he gathered his poems together and republished them with his book being an immediate success.
Then it was one book after another from 1886 until his death in 1936 with the poet’s pen being seldom idle. His books become popular because his poetry expressed the deep soul-sense of men to live up to a standard set by their forebears.
He was by far the most widely read, and the best-loved, poet writing in English at the beginning of this century; every cultured person in the English speaking world was familiar with at least some of his poems. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Below is an example of one of his classic poems. You read it in high school, but now read it carefully again:
“If” by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
“I don’t need anyone telling me when to cross the street,” I yelled defiantly at the fourth grade Safety Patrol.
“I’m no little kid, you know!”
I said in my roughest, toughest ten-year-old voice. With that, I crossed the street and made my way home. The next morning I was called to the principal’s office. I was a bit scared but tried my best not to show it.
“You know Mike, this is the third time I have had a complaint about you not obeying the Safety Patrols at the intersections.” (more…)
It started to happen gradually. One day, I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand, and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him,
“Who is that with you, young fella?”
“Nobody,” he shrugged.
“Nobody?” said the crossing guard, and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, “Oh, my goodness, nobody?”
I would walk into a room, and no one would notice. I would say something to my family like, “Turn the TV down, please,” – and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder,
“Would someone turn the TV down?”
That’s when I started to put all the pieces together. I don’t think he can see me. I don’t think anyone can see me.
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She’s going – she’s going – she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.
My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip, and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said,
“I brought you this.”
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
* No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. * These builders gave their whole lives for a work they might never see finished. * They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. * The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam! He was puzzled and asked the man,
“Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied,
“Because God sees it.”
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me,
“I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving,
“My Mom gets up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and bakes homemade pies, bastes the turkey for three hours, and then presses the linens for the table.”
That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,
“You’re gonna love it there.”
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
~ Written by Nicole Johnson who is s bestselling author, performer, and motivational speaker and is a sought-after creative communicators in America today. Her unique ability to blend humor with compassion as she captures the inner-most feelings of women facing life’s daily struggles, has enabled her to create a unique sense of community for people of all ages. Her web site is a most enjoyable visit at https://www.nicolejohnson.org ~
All I ever wanted to do was fly Leave this world and live in the sky I left the C130 out of Fort Worth town I go up some days I don’t wanna come down Well I fly that plane called the Angel Flight Come on brother you’re with me tonight
Between Heaven and earth you’re never alone On the Angel Flight Come on brother I’m taking you home I love my family and I love this land But tonight this flight’s for another man
We do what we do because we heard the call Some gave a little, but he gave it all I fly that plane called the Angel Flight Come on brother you’re with me tonight Come on brother you’re with me tonight
Between Heaven and earth you’re never alone On the Angel Flight Come on brother I’m taking you home Come on brother I’m taking you home
Well, the cockpit’s quiet and the stars are bright Feels kinda like church in here tonight It don’t matter where we touch down On the Angel Flight its sacred ground I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Gotta hero riding with us tonight Between Heaven and earth you’re never alone On the Angel Flight Come on brother I’m taking you home Come on brother I’m taking you home