Tuesday, October 14, 2014
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ― Henry David Thoreau
The truly sad thing about the quote above which was written in 1849 is how true it is for most people. At the time, the word “men” meant and included women because certainly men are not the only ones who “lead lives of quiet desperation and go the grave with the song still in them.” Thoreau knows that each of us has a song within us, he is bemoaning the fact that so many die with that song never having been heard by others. When I wrote about getting outside of the box yesterday, my wife said she believed that many didn’t even know they were in a box much less that there was an outside of it. If what Thoreau wrote is true, it is because we allow it to be. “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage” was written by a poet in the 17th century (Sir Richard Lovelace) and it is true--we make our cages out of most anything, be it credit card debt, student loan debt, mortgage debt, fear of change, having no belief in ourselves, and the worst is in not trusting God. I used to illustrate faith by climbing up on a ladder. If the ladder is God, and you keep one foot on the ground, you do not have faith. Faith comes when you put both feet on the ladder and allow the strength of God to save you from a fall. We may dig our own pits but God will always drop a ladder to us. He doesn’t lift you out, but He gives you a way to change your situation if you are willing to trust Him. The only way to carry the song inside you to your grave is not to trust in God. Oh, He won’t keep you free from pain, sorrow, and suffering, but He will give you the strength, endurance, and comfort to deal with whatever comes your way. We would hardly criticize a blind person for staying at home, but with trust in a seeing-eye dog, the blind can be free of the sightless prison in which they do not have to live. I have known quadriplegics that were freer and happier than so many others whose songs remained unheard. William Blake wrote of “mind-forged manacles” in which we restrict ourselves with no one else’s help. We make our own prisons and yet we can escape them singing the song inside us if we but trust in God. You do not have to live as a prisoner. You can be free. Accept Jesus Christ and really let Him be your shepherd, your guide dog if you will, and you can go wherever you want singing so that others can see the light inside you. You are a role model whether you want to be or not—to others, to your spouses, to your children, even to your parents. The question is, what kind of role model will you be? Will you live and die with the song inside you? How sad. To quote Robin Williams from a scene in “Mork and Mindy,” he says “Fly, be free!” You and you alone decide whether you are earthbound or imprisoned. I knew a man who had spent 27 years behind bars, the first seven in solitary confinement, but he said he was only truly incarcerated for the first year. He found faith inside and freed himself long before society admitted their mistake and let him out. Do not die with your song unheard and unsung. Let go. Let God.