by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head
when all about you men are losing theirs
and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
but make allowances for their doubting, too.
If you can wait but not be tired of waiting,
or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
and yet don’t look too good nor talk too wise,
If you can dream but not make dreams your master,
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with triumph and disaster,
and treat those two imposters just the same,
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
and stoop and build them up with worn-out tools,
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
and lose and start again at your beginnings
and never breathe a word about your loss,
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
to serve your turn long after they are gone,
and to hold on when there is nothing in you
but the will that says to them “hold on,”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
or walk with kings nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
if all men count with you but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
with 60 seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
and which is more, you’ll be a man, my son.
I spoke the words to this poem at my high school graduation. My parents were there and so were my sisters. It was such a hard time. So difficult. So confusing.
I am reminded of that time tonight as I sit and reflect on the words my dad wrote over at his own blog. He says that marriage and commitment are to trap someone and prey on fear. He seemingly worships Ayn Rand and her “Objectivism.” He wrote, “…the purpose of morality, she argues, is to teach us what is in our self-interest, what produces happiness.” No, Dad, that is not the purpose of morality. Where and how could you have strayed so far? You say that “Man is an end in himself” but where does that come from? How are you so hurt that you don’t understand anything. Why aren’t you the dad I once knew?
I miss you dad.
I miss your clean-shaven face. I miss the good-night tuck-ins. I miss your interest in me. I miss knowing that you loved mom unconditionally. I miss you taking out the spiders and letting me be your little girl — something you promised me… something you promised me even when I didn’t want it when I was a teen. I can’t even enjoy knowing that you would take care of a stupid spider for me. You made me grow up too soon. Too fast. I crave the comfort I once found from trusting you and knowing that you loved me and would never change. Is that too much to ask for? The certainty of a father’s love? Is that too much to ask for from the commitment of marriage that YOU MADE before you even brought me into this world? Is it?
The tears are welling up in my eyes. I am so afraid of how your actions and your weaknesses will impact my future. Your wishy-washy-ness makes it hard for me to trust God as my father. It makes it so difficult to believe that He loves me, the He cherishes me, that He wants me. I don’t even believe that God wants me. So often I am caught up thinking that He just “puts up” with me or “deals” with me. Not that I am a precious pearl in His sight. That I am His creation that He loves and delights in. How can someone delight in me when you, my own father, don’t any more. How can I trust God to delight in me when someone I thought I knew so well just walks out.
The hurt is still so raw. It is still there. There is still suffering, still pain. Still sadness. Still agony.