So, this all started with a Huffpost article that I read this morning (during this stressful election cycle, where honor is sorely lacking, I have been making it a point to try and read at least one inspiring thing each morning from HuffPost’s Good News section). The article asks us, “Are we always focused on the destination or do we enjoy the journey? Do we crumble when things don’t go our way, or do we think about what we can learn from a setback? How it will allow us to grow?” It also discusses an old parable about three bricklayers, that I have always loved.
This is a topic I think about often. I am a believer that true character is born out of adversity, in tandem with a loving heart and a positive mind. It’s so easy to be a good, upbeat, positive, honorable person when the going is good. That’s not a challenge. Anyone can do that. But enjoying (and finding the good in it) the journey, with all of its twists, turns, bumps, and occasionally dead-ends, to love life and make the absolute best of your situation, whatever it is, is the real challenge in life. As I was reading the article, I was reminded of a poem I read and memorized as a schoolkid/bookworm. I can’t even remember the book I originally found it in, but I remember the poem – “Be the Best of Whatever You Are” by Douglas Malloch. The poem stuck with me at the time, because it was very much in line with so much of what my parents were always telling me – just be the best, whatever that is. Give everything your best.
Okay. So, as I searched for Malloch’s poem online for this post, I stumbled across some of this other works, and found one called “Good Timber”… and suddenly all the stress and ugliness of current events seemed to still for a few minutes, and I felt my soul inspired, enough to share it here…
“Good Timber” by Douglas Malloch
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.