I am part of all that I have met.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson
I know, I know! I’m late, Late, LATE!
Quotography’s theme this week is focused on Alfred Lord Tennyson. If you’ve read any of his poems, you know he’s quite the wordsmith and, typically, not an easy read. Thankfully, Texture Tuesday is another Free and Easy Edition for whatever floats our boat. And Tuesday Muse is always flexible open to whatever our Muse inspires in us for the week.
This line is from the Tennyson poem, Ulysses, which is based on Homer’s character, Odysseus in The Odyssey.
As Ulysses is looking back on his life, he realizes all his encounters have shaped the type of person he has become. Everyone and everything that crossed his path was woven into his life story and impacted who he is today.
A recent message at our church asked a very intriguing question. It was asked, “if you, as a parent, could preview the script of your child’s life, would you change anything? Would you erase the bad parts and keep only the good ones? Would you alter their life so they didn’t have to struggle or experience anything horrific?”
A fair question. And we would probably say, “of course I’d erase everything that would cause them pain and suffering.” No parent wants their child to experience setbacks, discrimination, unfairness, sickness, disasters and/or heartbreak.
But is that the wisest choice? Before you think me a sadist, think about the times when you’ve learned the most about yourself. Was it during the rainbow and butterfly times in your life? Is that the time when your resolve was strengthened; your faith tested; your mind sharpened?
If we’re people of faith, much as we dislike it, we realize God is working in our lives through the good and the bad times to make us into the person He wants us to be. Those struggles and trials are by design. Let’s look at some noteworthy people and how horrible, terrible experiences ultimately shaped their destiny.
Moses: A baby who was a reed away from being murdered by Pharaoh’s decree to kill all Hebrew male children. Instead, he grew up as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter’s and raised in opulence inside the palace walls. But he found himself identifying with the Hebrew slaves and eventually turn his back on the lap of luxury. Run out of town and exiled to the desert, Moses lived as a shepherd (the lowest of the socially low) for 40 years before God gave him the divine re-assignment to return to Egypt to free the Hebrew slaves. The struggles and hardship from living as a nomad formed his character and equipped him to handle some pretty difficult circumstances when the time was right.
Joseph: Thrown into a well by his jealous brothers only to be drug out and sold into slavery, Joseph was carried off to Egypt and sold to the captain of Pharaoh’s guard where he spent quite a bit of time hanging out in prison. But this allowed him to be in the right place at the right time to prove his indispensable value to the Egyptian king. Consequently, he became one of the most humble, but powerful right-hand-men in the kingdom….which, in turn, allowed him to save the lives of his rotten brothers and very surprised father when they showed up in Egypt to ask for food during the famine. Funny how things work, isn’t it?
David: Not a stranger to challenging situations, David, another socially-unacceptable shepherd, spent years on the run hiding in caves from a jealous King Saul…who was tipped off by the prophet Samuel that David would be the next King of Israel. It was while he was in the hiding in the wilderness, alone and scared that he learned to trust God, re-evaluated his life and rose to become Israel’s greatest king.
Do you think the parents of these people would have wanted to change the script for their children’s lives so they didn’t have to experience the terrible things that happened to them? If they hadn’t experienced those terrible things, would they have accomplished the successes they are most known for in history?
There are so many horrific things that happen in the world. While it’s noble for us to want to right the majority of these wrongs, we simply cannot make it easier for everyone. We may not like it, but many of these events might just be the behind-the-scene workings to bring someone to the best they can be.
Believe me, there are many events I would have liked to have nixed ahead of time. But looking back, those times made me stronger…and more than a little wiser. All the people and experiences I’ve had are now a part of me. And I would not be the person I am today without them….all of them.
Linking up with a bunch of stuff….better late than never, right?!