Did you aspire, like me, to its lofty tenets? So much wisdom. So much travail. So much promised.
Yet, here I am, entering the autumn of my life. And wondering.
What if - rather than choosing stoicism, I live life to its fullest, out-loud and proud?
What if - my inner light shines so very bright, it gives yours permission to flare?
What if - the glow of our collective light dispells the darkness forever?
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 imposters 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 wornout 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,Ahhh. See there. Didn't you fall in love with IF again? Are there other what-if's you'd like to propose? Any thoughts on Kipling's IF?
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!
~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré
O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS trilogy. Book One, COMING HOME, is complete and in query. The first draft of Book Two, COMING TO, is nearing completion, and Book Three, COMING FULL CIRCLE, is swirling in the mists of creation.