Tuesday, August 9, 2011

it is well ...

Going my own Way (Trust 30 Prompt 17)

Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • I have a lot on my mind just now, and today's prompt - yet again - didn't seem relevant for me. So I thought I'd find my own Emerson quote and write my own prompt. This is it. :) 
One of the reasons I love this quote so much is that it echos the wild vocabulary of my favourite American Romantic, Walt Whitman. Barking and chanting are so much more fun than whining and speaking. Yay words. :) So much of Emerson's writing comes across as strident and dogmatic, but here I hear softness in a world that seems, at a quickening pace, to be going mad. 

I am struggling to make sense of the ongoing rioting in England. I'm struggling to make sense of Somalians starving to death, and aid being stolen by their own soldiers. I'm struggling to make sense of a civil society that abandons and neglects children, the mentally ill, the lost, the alone. It's very very easy to look at the world - near and far - and think 'there's something terribly wrong. This is NOT okay." 

And yet, like complaining about the weather, those protestations make no difference. They relieve no one's hunger, comfort no loneliness, and eases no one's fear or anger. 

There is another option - choosing peacefulness. It came up in a converation last night, and I have returned to it often throughout the day today. Choosing peacefulness gives me freedom to move, to act, and to see the good around me. 

Last week it was my turn to give the devotional at our management team meeting at work, and as I was thinking about what to say, this old hymn that I used to love hearing my Grandpa sing kept coming back to me ... 

Whatever else is going on around the world, I always have the option to be peaceful. To choose peace - not as a cop out or an excuse not to act, but as an access to the power to act. It is well with my soul, and I hope it is with yours as well. 


  1. Such a great song....
    Do you know the history of the writer of this song? Makes the song even more powerful!

  2. From Wikipedia

    "This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died."


    Peace be with you.

  3. Dang Maureen - same wavelength!

  4. I do know the story - it's an amazing song anyway, but even more so when you know what he went through and still maintained his faith. XO


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