Holding on

It is cold here in Central Florida. Really. When the weather forecaster spoke of a wind-chill factor, I knew it was time to get out the electric blanket. The weather forecaster predicted freezing temperatures in the area and I had visions of icicles dangling from orange trees and “Boogie Boards” covered with frost. For me, this is a mild discomfort. My mind, however, turns to those in New York City devastated by Hurricane Sandy, bearing assault after assault — rain, snow and federal budget cuts — waiting and wondering. Lately, setbacks, disappointments and tragedies seem to swirl “fast and furious” for many.

Understanding eludes me at times.  It is hard to make sense of Thursday’s bizarre tragedy in Central Florida. A hole opened up under a bedroom and swallowed a man as he screamed for help. As yet, he has not been found. I pray for comfort for his family and for everyone around the world. Personally, I continue to ask for hope and wisdom. Today, I eased into a moment of stillness and quiet and the memory of these words began to echo in my mind:


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,

Atlantic Beach, N.Y., Feb. 20, 2013 -- At The Sands Atlantic Beach, rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

Atlantic Beach, N.Y., Feb. 20, 2013 — At The Sands Atlantic Beach, rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

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!

—    Rudyard Kipling

Photo: FEMA.gov

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