Saturday, July 10, 2010

"If" by Rudyard Kipling (Part 7)

I love the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling . . . thirty-two lines of wisdom that provide possibly the best instruction in manliness (why not womanliness, too?) written by a father to his son. The father concludes that if  his son will assimilate this good advice into his conduct, then

"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"
Let's take a look now at the next four lines of the poem.
"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;"

As a woman who has been averse to risk-taking all her life, I find this one difficult. Do you? To be willing to risk everything you've worked for in one turn of "pitch-and-toss." At first consideration, this "pitch and toss" could smell like gambling and we might shrug it off as an activity we shun--albeit with one concern, i.e., Why would a father encourage his son to gamble?
However, let's not be too quick to dismiss something that could have scriptural application. We all take risks, don't we--whether it's investing in a home, retirement income, or a relationship. Any one of these can sour on us, yet we take the risk because of the potential benefit. Even so, sometimes our fondest hopes evaporate into the mist.

And then what do we do? Do we give up on life, on people, on hope? Or do we start again, older and wiser, and build on the one thing we cannot lose--our relationship with Jesus Christ, our hope of glory.

And then the father gives more good counsel--never breath a word about your loss. Don't give in to the temptation to wallow in self-pity, slander those who have hurt you, or permit roots of bitterness to poison yourself and everyone around you. Keep it to yourself. Better yet, turn it over to God. He is our ever-present help in times of trouble.

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