Dear Family and Friends,
My wife loves antiques. From our dining room table to our little girl’s bed, we have antiques everywhere. We love the idea that each item has a story. How amazing would it be if each item came with it’s own unique written account of when it was made, whose it was, and what purpose it served.
Everything has a story.
As mentioned a few months ago, our bookshelves are full of antique books. Many passed down from previous generations in my own family, others acquired along the way at various antique shops. Each one with a unique story of its own.
One recent Saturday, I was cleaning up the day’s mess made by two little children – a frequent ending to most of our days in recent years. Having a 6 and 7-year-old in the house, it’s not uncommon to find random things in random places. Slime on the ceiling, bouncy balls in shoes, crayons inside the couch are not uncommon things to find.
Picking up from the day, I bent down to pick up one of the antique books laying on the floor. Our daughter loves to play teacher and will often get books to “read” to her “class.” Out of the side of the book, I noticed the corner of an old piece of paper sticking out of the old green and yellow book. It was obvious it was placed there as it was not an original part of the book. Intrigued of what it was (and frankly expecting it to be “a work of art” that one of my children put inside) I pulled the piece of paper out and opened it up.
“Don’t Quit” were the words at the top of the brittle page.
By John Greenleaf Whittier
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Reading this poem, I wondered to myself who stuck this poem in the old ragged novel, which now has a separated spine and many of its original pages floating inside. What was their story? What were they going through that lead them to saving this particular poem? Perhaps it was someone from my own family of previous generations. Perhaps it was someone else. Perhaps it was for me to find at this season of my life. Perhaps it was for me to pass it along to you.
Everyone has a story.
Dr. Seuss once said, “When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let is destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”
We have a lot of opportunities during this season of life. Opportunities to succeed or to fail. Opportunities to throw in the towel or to keep on going.
Right now, in this season of life – and especially as we enter into a season of Thanksgiving – my prayer for you is that you are using this moment in time to be strengthened. That you come to realize you are strong enough, you are capable, that you do have what it takes.
May we be thankful for each moment, no matter how big or how small. May we remember that there is still joy to be had and life to live each day – whether in the middle of a pandemic or not. May we accept each day as it comes and for what it is – a gift. And may we remember that we are leaving a legacy with every day that we live.
Everyone has a story. What story are you writing?
Whatever chapter you are in today, always remember…you can do hard things.
Until next time,