“A Nation’s Strength ~ Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Nation’s Strength

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes it mighty to defy

The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand

Go down in battle shock;

Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,

Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust

Of empires passed away;

The blood has turned their stones to rust,

Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown

Has seemed to nations sweet;

But God has struck its luster down

In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make

A people great and strong;

Men who for truth and honor’s sake

Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,

Who dare while others fly…

They build a nation’s pillars deep

And lift them to the sky.

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Stories I Like: “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy ~ Part 2 of 2

THREE QUESTIONS – PART 2 OF 2

The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging.

“You are tired,” said the King, “let me take the spade and work awhile for you.”

“Thanks!” said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground.

When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said:

“Now rest awhile-and let me work a bit.”

But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said:

“I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.”

“Here comes some one running,” said the hermit, “let us see who it is.”

The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing “from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man’s clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing, and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and re-bandaged the wound. When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit’s help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep—so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember at him.

“I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,” said the King.

“You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!”

The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before.

The King approached him, and said:

“For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.”

“You have already been answered!” said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.

“How answered? What do you mean?” asked the King.

“Do you not see,” replied the hermit. “If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you then: there is only one time that is important—Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!”

Excerpt From

What Men Live By, and Other Tales

by Leo Tolstoy

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Something to Think About

Go for long walks,
indulge in hot baths,
Question your assumptions,
be kind to yourself,
live for the moment,
loosen up, scream,
curse the world,
count your blessings,
Just let go,
Just be.

Carol Shields

When was the last time you “wasted” a day and relaxed, totally relaxed? It takes a heap of courage to let everything go for 24 hours. Here’s a challenge for you and me, let’s take a 24 hour be kind to myself break and as Carol Shields says, “Just let go, Just be.”

Something to Think About

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

Pablo Picasso

 

You have a great gift. Honest, you really do. It is unique to you. What is it? How are you sharing this wonderful gift with others?f

Something to Think About

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation… even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

Leonardo da Vinci
da Vinci’s words apply to each of us. What can you do NOW, to stimulate your mind or body? Do something? Spring to action and you’ll spring to life. I think I’ll head out for a three mile run.

“Can You Coax Your Mind?” Poem by Lao Tzu

Can You Coax Your mind?

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Something to Think About

“All things and all people … call on us with small or loud voices. They want us to listen. They want us to understand their intrinsic claims, their justice of being. We can give it to them only through the love that listens.” Paul Tillich

What if each of us were able to listen to another without interruption?

What if each of us were able to understand each another without letting our innate biases color our understanding?

What if each of us felt accepted unconditionally as we are at the present moment?

I speak for myself. I’d like that kind of world. How about you?