My husband has taken to doing those decoding puzzles known as CRYPTOGRAMS and has bought a number of “Cryptogram Special” mags from Kappa Puzzles. We enjoy the many sobering, thought-provoking, and really delightful quotes contained in these books, including the following:
“A hero is also someone who, in their day to day interactions with the world, despite all the pain, uncertainty and doubt that can plague us, is resiliently and unashamedly themselves. If you can wake up every day and be emotionally open and honest regardless of what you get back from the world then you can be the hero of your own story.”
And seconding the thought with this poem from long ago:
Be the Best of Whatever You Are
by Douglas Malloch
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley–but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass–
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail–
Be the best of whatever you are!
Sadly, the first phrase that came to me was EXPLOSIVE temper. My Dad F had an explosive temper, which led to scenes I don’t want to revisit. Apparently my Uncle Danny had an explosive temper, too. I thank God often that automobiles have replaced horses. While there were many kind owners, too many of those poor animals had to suffer the wrath of a cruel master with a whip and a violent temper.
As I typed in the word, my thought switched to EXPLOSIVES, their usefulness in building our country. Megatons of mountain rock blown away to make a path for the railroad track and then the highways.
Now I recall the explosions we all love to see, and watching the International Fireworks Competition in Montreal. There! It turns out there is something good to be said for EXPLOSIVE.
This bit of rambling can also be my response to Biff’s Whatnot Wednesday, over at biffsockpow, if he’s doing one this week.
Seeing the word MAGIC made me wonder if it’s related to MAJESTIC, since they sound so much alike. However, Merriam-Webster informs me that they spring from two different roots:
Magic comes to us via French, via Latin, via the Greek magikē, which in turn comes from magos, a sorcerer. This word, of Iranian origin is kin to the old Old Persian maguš which means sorcerer. A well travelled word indeed! Majesty and Majestic come to us via the French majesté, from Latin majestat-, majestas; akin to Latin major, which means greater.
In case you wanted to know. 😉
Magic is definitely a popular theme in our day. Ancient tales give us to think that wishes might come true through supernatural, reality-defying means. I suppose lotteries cash in on this “Cinderella” dream, the magical win which makes a person suddenly rich enough to afford anything they wish.
Fairy tales and stories of magic can be an amusement for youngsters; to some extent they can be used to portray the great conflicts of life, good versus evil. The triumph of love and kindness over selfishness and cruelty. I believe C S Lewis created his Chronicles of Narnia with this in mind, showing Jesus as represented by the all-knowing, all-wise, just but gentle Aslan.
Children also need to understand that, in real life, things aren’t going to get done by magic. To raise happy, well adjust children, parents need to help them grasp reality as it is and deal with it as it stands. Things like math and spelling proficiency or an orderly workspace aren’t going to fall from a twinkling fairy wand; the child must work at them. Victory may involve a constant battle, but there’s “joy in the journey.”
Being watched in my early years by babysitters with no personal investment in my future, I’ve had to learn some of this the hard way myself. No sudden windfall from a long-lost uncle to fill our bank account; no little elves sneak in at night and clean up my kitchen for me. 😉
I remember my father years ago making a comment about prayer in the same sense. We were talking about prayer, how God hears and answers prayer, and great things being accomplished through prayer. Then he looked around and said, “That may be, but prayer isn’t going to get this floor washed. I’d better get at it.”
He was being flippant, but he had a point. Some things happen, people meet “coincidentally”, dangers are avoided by a few minutes, answers to a problem pop into our heads, in quite miraculous ways through divine intervention. But, as my Dad said, the basic work of life we usually have to deal with ourselves.