January 23, 2009

Poetry Friday: Words to Live By



Earlier this week, the words of Rabbi Hillel echoed through my head, as the change of administration in the country took place. "We understand," the gentleman said, "that greatness is never a given."

Do we understand?

Nothing is a given, and never has been. No one is handing out greatness or goodness or change or hope. Everything has to be... taken, hands opened, accepted, reached for, grasped, and achieved.

If we are just for ourselves, then who are we?
If we are not for ourselves, then who will be?
If we don't reach out now, when will we?

Perhaps a strange thing, to place the words of an ancient Jerusalem scholar on the side of a whitewashed Presbyterian church. But I think the wisdom of Rabbi Hillel is transcendent enough to work, and the imagery of a plain and practical church, with its churchyard full of the past, speaks to the generations behind and before us who knew:

Nothing is a given.
What a world, in which we have a chance to make something of ourselves...


Poetry Friday is at Laura's place. And don't miss her fabulous picture of the dungeon at Urquhart Castle, and the "15 Words or More" poems which came from that prompt. Some pretty intense observations.

10 comments:

divatobe said...

Love the words on the photo--striking.

adrienne said...

Doesn't that just make you want to go out and DO something? I should start every day looking at that photo.

a. fortis said...

Very inspirational!

Sara said...

I have brief moments when I realize that I'm the only one getting in my own way, and if I want to change, it's my task alone. But then I lose the thread of it. It's so hard to be self-aware and yet self-less. But perhaps this stark image with just a few words will focus me...

susanwrites said...

So very true. Our lives our what we make of it and what a gift that is for us all.

Thanks for sharing this.

Janet said...

Good thoughts. I like the pairing of the picture and the words.

Kelly Fineman said...

Wow - really inspirational. Thanks, TadMack.

John Mutford said...

An ancient rabbi's words not looking out of place on a picture of a presbyterian church is hopeful in itself.

Kelly said...

I couldn't agree with that more. I hope the citizens of America are inspired to grow and improve as individuals and then help one another.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Rohan said...

Thanks for sharing wisdom and inspiration, beautiful!