“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.”
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.”
There is always the last word, the closing argument, the final chapter in any storyline. The End – this is where the reader closes the book and says, “I wish there was more…”
As we write our personal narratives, our words gather momentum as we age. Recall that great feats and resolutions happen towards the end, not at the beginning. Perhaps that is the reason memoirs are generally written in the “denouement” stage of life. Looking through the lens of age it is easier to sort out the complications and fashion a fitting outcome to a life well lived.
Gloria Swanson confessed, “I’ve given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can’t divorce a book.” Winston Churchill said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Conversely, the Comte de Lautreamont said “I will leave no memoirs.” Frank Harris, editor and journalist, declared that, “Memoirs are a well-known form of fiction.”
Whether we write, paint, sing, dance or live our memoirs, one thing is certain – no one else can write our story as eloquently or passionately. The journey continues – write with enthusiasm. Recall the words of Frank Herbert, “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
On November 11th, Canada will observe Remembrance Day. On that day, we will remember the members of our armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Across Canada, there will be a moment of silence at the 11th hour. In the year 1918, WWI hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”
I am wearing a red poppy, which is the Canadian symbol of Remembrance Day based on the poem “In Flanders Fields.”On May 3, 1915, Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved to write the poem after he presided over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle Ypres. This week, I am dedicating my posts to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve their countries.
May we all continue to seek peaceful solutions…together.
“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
Sir Winston Churchill
Remember – you can only take one step at a time, no matter how fast you are running.
“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
Sir Winston Churchill