Capturing Ideas

Last night Rosie and I read Longfellow’s “The Village Blacksmith” together, which led us to discuss My Man and how much the poem reminded us of him.

Toiling,–rejoicing,–sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

I find myself awed at the power of words.  Awed by the ability of of Longfellow to capture the timeless idea of manly strength within a few short lines.I have seen families where the men have failed at this, when each morning and evening only see tasks not attempted, tasks not begun.  I have known men who spent their youthful energy in avoiding the forge of life rather than facing it head on, but they have not been men on whom I was dependent.

I have been blessed to see this ideal lived in individual ways by my grandfather, my father, my husband, my brothers.  I hope to see it lived someday by my son.  I am grateful for the words of Longfellow; the way he captured this ideal has allowed generations to read and consider it.  Thankful for these words that I can share with my children, words that allow their minds to form a picture of worthy manhood in an age when manliness is often despised or perverted.

This morning we sung Faith of Our Fathers, and I was reminded anew of the obligation of each generation to pass along good and right thoughts, that they be not lost.

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
How sweet would be their children’s fate
If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

With all that is going on in the world: as Christians are persecuted abroad and Christian ideals are rejected more and more by our society, I want these words sunk deep into the minds of my children.

Ideas are captured in words, learned by the mind, but ultimate touch the soul.

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