Run The Distance

“Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.” 
Aristotle

 Run The Distance

A relay relies on a team to run the race.  A time will come to hand the baton to another; our work complete, we will watch as the runner diminishes into a far horizon.  Far from being sorrowful, we should be elated.  We have run our distance.

The ancients left a legacy that remained vibrant and strong throughout the centuries.  Socrates once said, “I am not an Athenian nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” He was a citizen of history, as are all who walk this earth.  Whether we are remembered one hundred years from now is of no consequence.  What we do today, in the time and space that has been given is what counts. Our legacy will be held in the hearts of those who love us, in the stories that will be shared when they recall our memory.  As the Stoic philosopher Epictetus once wrote, “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” 

Run the distance.  Enjoy the moment, for this is our time.  As Plato said, “Love is the pursuit of the whole.” 

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” 
 Winston Churchill

 

22 thoughts on “Run The Distance

  1. For me, a deeply moving post today Clanmother, somewhat along the lines of my own thoughts for this day. My mother, who is still alive, was a grade school and a pre-school teacher. We are so proud of the difference she made to so many little lives; all of them good citizens of the world, and she remains in touch with many of them to this day.

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    • I was reading your post as you were reading mine. This year, Mother’s Day has been bittersweet for me too, especially since my father passed away about a year ago – my parents were inseparable. Now my son is in University and will make his way in this world. I hold tightly to the moments, even as they slip away. My hugs to your mother! Making a difference is all about giving strength to the new generation that will take our place. A wonderful legacy…

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  2. Wow. Powerful post. It’s unsettling to realize that one day, after we’ve passed on, all memory of us will have vanished. Especially those of us who have no descendants. I think about this sometimes, especially when I come across vintage postcards and photos that are for sale in flea markets. I read the messages and look at the faces and wonder who they were. I wonder if one day my photos and other articles will end up being looked over by total strangers. And then I remember that so much is digital nowadays, that in the future all of our personal data (photos, writing, etc) could either be completely erased or kept in a database forever. I’m not sure which I prefer.

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    • Oh, you have reminded me of one of my favourite passages from Thornton Wilder’s “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” I read the book when I was 15. It was one of my Eureka moments, when I realized that destiny was uncertain yet understandable.

      “We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

      I have a pile of my father’s photos that I am sorting through. I confess that I have no idea who some of them are except that I was related to them. Like your postcards, I look at the faces and wonder…perhaps that is all that is required. Thank you for adding so much to my understanding.

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  3. A beautiful post for Mothers’ Day, Rebecca. As mothers, we have to be able to love and let go, hopefully in the knowledge that our children are ready to be launched into their new and exciting adult life. We and their teachers play such a huge part in the preparation for this readiness. All we can do now, is sit back and watch as their future unfolds.

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  4. “Whether we are remembered one hundred years from now is of no consequence. What we do today, in the time and space that has been given is what counts. Our legacy will be held in the hearts of those who love us, in the stories that will be shared when they recall our memory. ”

    This made me think of a really good novel called, “The Brief History of the Dead” by Kevin Brockmeier. It takes place largely in an enormous city populated by people who have died. They remain there after death so long as there is someone in the living world who remembers them. Eventually the city grows rapidly then shrinks even more rapidly and the people don’t know why at first. It turns out that those who remain in this “way station” of sorts are all remembered by one woman. A plague is wiping out humanity and she is the last survivor. It gets to this idea of the legacy we leave behind; not just on an individual basis but on a human-wide scale.

    In that case the ending is grim. I’m a bit more optimistic about humankind’s ability to prolong its legacy.

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    • Thank you for highlighting “The Brief History of the Dead.” I found it on Goodreads. It is a recipient of the Borders Original Voices Award. Looks great! I appreciate the recommendation. The theme is a testament to our thoughts on immortality.

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  5. I was reminded this weekend of the Eagle, such a majestic bird, and how the parents prepare and teach their little ones to fly. All parents have this opportunity to teach their children to “fly” into their world.

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    • You just reminded me of my favourite verse – “they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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    • Thank you! I love following your blog! If anyone knows how to run the distance, you do! And you do it with grace and elegance. It is a joy to tag along on your travels.

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  6. What a lovely post and the comments as good as the post…. such a rich feast of thoughts and quotes here…
    As a grandmother, may I add one more thought to add to the mothering?
    … I always tell people to enjoy and make the most of that gap when their children have left school and are making their lives – before they settle down and have children.
    AS soon as the grandchildren come, you’re hooked again… supporting children and grandchildren through feeding problems, unexpected health and accidents, worries that one or other of the parents is being tough on the baby etc etc… there’s no going back once the babies arrive again !!!
    Which isn’t to say that being a grand parent is probably the most blissful experience of all…

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    • A wonderful addition, Valerie! I remember my Grandmother saying to me that she thought once her kids were happily married that she would not longer have to worry. Then, as you said, the babies came along. Her worries multiplied exponentially. Just as the joys did, which is the counterpoint. I look forward to your visits – thank you!!!

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