Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850-1919, an American author and popular poet.
"Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own."
"The Winds of Fate"
"One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self-same winds that blow.
Tis the set of the sails,
And not the gales,
That tell us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
As we voyage along through life,
Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife."
"I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the Hand that never fails,
From seeming evil works to good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
'I will trust in thee.'
I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love
That has refused these things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure passion of my fixed believing
Undimmed will burn.
I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive.
I will believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses,
Yet I will see through my severest losses
The greater gain.
I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not fail
To face the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh may I cry, though body leaves the spirit,
'I do not doubt,' so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath."
This last poem I read on the very day that my son left for his first tour of duty in Iraq. After I read this poem I cried and cried, as if I needed another reason to do so. I underlined the words "The greater gain" and asked myself what greater gain could come from his leaving to go into harms way? I still do not have an answer. As humans we demand answers as to why somethings happen. We can demand all we want and still we may not get an answer. So what now? You can either keep chewing on it like a dog with a bone, or let it go. Let it go because there are other battles to fight, and as my grandmother used to say "other fish to fry."