"...Life piled on life were all too little." - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I remember reading Tennyson's poem in my high school poetry book with a mix of sadness and defiance.
If "life piled on life" were not enough for the great Tennyson what chance did I have? What do any of us?
If we could travel our road the way she did, we'd want to accept her invitation.
Towards the end of your life, what would you like to say about your journey?
In my youth my dreams (perhaps like yours) were untainted by cynicism. My enthusiasm soared. I decided then, and many times since, to pile as much life into my years as I could.
But, I have done too much from desperation and not enough from Love.
I've struggled high in the twin professions of law and healthcare (and now in ministry.) And I've failed many times.
I fancied myself a t.v. star and created a television show that made it into 122 countries over eight years (and a companion radio show.) Both were cancelled.
I've written three books about healthcare. One of them is successful the other two have been flops. One of my four documentary films is shown in hundreds of hospitals. The other three are rarely seen.
Love kids? Write a children's book. Mine sold fifty copies.
I've composed music for five cds, written and produced a play (and a movie based on it) been a prize winning photographer, written a novel, published a book of my photographs and poems, and am currently producing another feature-length film.
What my piled-up life has proved is not that I am multi-talented but that I am multi-interested.
It also establishes that an ego-driven life can never be "enough."
Until recently, too many of my endeavors were spawned by desire rather than from passion. The question that has plagued me since I was an idealistic kid remains: Why is it so hard to live what we believe?
I don't think people should fret about failures. I've obsessed about every one of mine.
I think people should be patient and kind. I deliver irritable responses more often than a scared porcupine shoots his quills.
I preach loving care. I doubt I would have the endurance to last more than a month as a bedside caregiver.
Self pity is ridiculous. I often wallow in it.
I don't believe in despairing. Yet, I have just written four paragraphs that sound like I am doing just that.
And if you're wondering about my ego, count the number of times I have used "I" in this article.
Still, a long life may have taught this wisdom: If we find Love in every moment, the courage to live with passion will follow.
Fear can only birth despair. Love's four children are courage, wisdom, passion and compassion.