take the time

Today I found a poem in my inbox. As I read the words, tears pricked my eyes (and I’m not really someone who cries much).  It’s the timing of the thing and the unexpected sender who cared enough to take the time to pass it on to me that means something big to me. “Don’t Quit,” an old poem with an unknown author resonated with me. The last stanza beats:

Success is failure turned inside out– 

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, 

And you never can tell 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.
{To read the entire poem, click here. For an inspirational video click here.}
It reminded me of a quote I wrote in the front of my very first reflective practice journal. I hunted it down and found it in the belly of an old filing cabinet.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic,”

Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Yes, I needed these tonight. I’m so thankful someone took the time to send me an email. I hope I pass the goodness along the next time I’m nudged to send along a quote or poem or video to someone else. It’s a simple matter of taking the time to pass things along when we think of another person. These little acts of kindness make the world a better place.

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  1. Ruth,
    You touch so many people's lives every single day with your sweet, sweet spirit and beautiful words. Glad someone could encourage you today. These poems make me think of another oldie but goodie, Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son.”

    Mother to Son
    By Langston Hughes
    Well, son, I’ll tell you:
    Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
    It’s had tacks in it,
    And splinters,
    And boards torn up,
    And places with no carpet on the floor—
    But all the time
    I’se been a-climbin’ on,
    And reachin’ landin’s,
    And turnin’ corners,
    And sometimes goin’ in the dark
    Where there ain’t been no light.
    So boy, don’t you turn back.
    Don’t you set down on the steps
    ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
    Don’t you fall now—
    For I’se still goin’, honey,
    I’se still climbin’,
    And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

    Hope you are back with your family! Hang in there!

  2. This is why I so love my student poetry postcard project . Students write poems and I get them on postcards for them to illustrate and we send them off. Receiving mail or poetry emails is so welcomed.

  3. Ruth,

    Kindness is coming back to a very deserving person. I may be absent from much of this challenge and blogging in general these days, but nights like tonight when I push myself to read a few posts, I am perked up and inspired to keep at it. I love the quote that you found in the belly of a filing cabinet. I hope that whatever has you down is solved or healing is on the way. ~ Theresa

  4. I think not quitting is the secret ingredient that makes a difference in the difficulties of life. You'll know when to let go. Two more days and hope the break helps.

  5. Not only is the Roosevelt quote thought provoking, but the fact that you put it in the front of a reflective practice journal adds another layer of meaning. I am wondering what these words mean to you at this point compared to what they meant to you long ago. I suspect these are words that seep deeper into the skin over time. Like the new poem is sure to.

  6. Ruth, Thank you for sharing your words, reminding of the importance of taking the time to share kindness. I never know when I reach out to show kindness what a difference that act makes. I do know that when others have done so for me, their caring has made a big difference. I appreciate your words today.