After that last/first post, someone asked if I was going to start blogging. “On occasion,” I replied. I write a lot, every day, but what flows from my fingertips on a daily basis is not material for a blog like this. However, fodder for such blogging does pop up from time to time, so maybe I will post with some frequency. We shall see.
But because I was asked, something now compels me to follow up. This is easy because I had wanted to add more quotes to the last post but figured the others I had in mind would veer off message too much. It’s always too easy for me to digress and to say too much. So I tried to keep it short.
“Stay on message and keep it brief.” This is usually good advice for me.
The quotes I considered including in the Veterans Day post are in a similar vein. But they’re more about work, action and service to community in a context of consistency, in daily practice. One is gentle, the other a bit rough, almost gruff.
But the notions put forth in these words still have very much to do with fanning the fire of change, and doing it with a commitment to make the world a better place.
When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. To love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret. All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.
(1883 – 1931)
I see passion for work, for creativity and achievement, expressed in both of these quotes. But the angles these authors used to approach the subject are in strong contrast. Indeed, the one below has a bit of an edge.
This is the true joy in life: The being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be to be thoroughly used up when I die—for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on the future generations.
George Bernard Shaw
(1856 – 1950)
George Bernard Shaw embodied what he believed, at least what he declares in this quote; he was extraordinarily prolific and kept working into his nineties.
(Note: when I say “service to community” I don’t mean “community service” mandated by law! It’s service out of passion, not pressure!)
To me, the word “community” does not typically come with borders of inclusion and exclusion. I see community as all of these things: a home, a group, such as a school or a church, a sports team and its fans, a club, a circle of friends, a town, a state, a country, a continent and the world at large. Everybody’s connected and we’re all in this together, so, in some ways, it’s hard for me to draw demarcations between groups. We’re all part of a global community.