On Taking a Stand

As I approach my 64th birthday, I have been thinking more and more about life. The life my mother lost just last year, the life that is now slipping away from my father as he lies in a hospital bed and, of course, my own life and what I have done with it. In doing so, I often think about when in my life I have taken a stand and when I have simply given in to whatever might be happening in and around me. I guess in life, one has only so much energy and so much time. There are always so many issues, so many people and so many problems that are in need of attention. Some, in the scheme of things, are far more important that our own existence.

Nevertheless, one also must spend time alone caring for oneself or else there is simply no fuel, no passion and no wisdom to bring to the world and do much of anything. In thinking, however, of when in life I have simply given in and veered away from what I should have done simply due to a lack of energy or a desire to stay in my own safe world, I sometimes think of a poem by Robert Bly called: “It Is So Easy To Give In”. I believe it provides us with some thoughts on this subject.

I have been thinking about the man who gives in.
Have you heard about him? In this story
A twenty-eight foot pine meets a small wind
And the pine bends all the way over to the ground.

“I was persuaded,” the pine says. “It was convincing.”
A mouse visits a cat, and the cat agrees
To drown all her children. “What could I do?”
The cat said, “The mouse needed that.”

It’s strange. I have heard that some people conspire
In their own ruin. A fool says, “You don’t
Deserve to live.” The man says, “I’ll string this rope
Over that branch, maybe you can find a box.”

The Great One with her necklace of skulls says,
“I need twenty thousand corpses.” “Tell you what,”
The General says, “we have an extra battalion
Over there on the hill. We don’t need all these men.”

We should all, of course, consider our choices in life, for we only have one life to lead. One life we can never get back, so we must make the best of it. So many people don’t.

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