Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

We have this poem displayed in our bathroom down in Louisiana.  I cannot tell you how much of a comfort it is to me.  I read it every single day while I'm in the bathroom getting ready, and now I have almost the whole thing memorized.  It is my favorite.  It seems like it speaks to me no matter what I am dealing with in my life.  It offers constant encouragement, reassurance, and peace.  It helps me take a deep breath and remember that, like Job, I am ok no matter what happens, and I will always be grateful.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by 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—and 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 impostors 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 ’em 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 so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which 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 sixty 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!

*Interesting side note, the plaque in our bathroom doesn't have the last line on it.  Hmmm...

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