Monday, November 05, 2018

Dare to be up and doing

There is a line that runs through my mind occasionally, but I don't know where it comes from, at least not precisely. Part of me wants to attribute it to my Grandpa C because I know that he recited poetry often (according to his personal history he was a Tennyson man), though I don't recall him ever reciting poetry to me (of course, I only knew him after his stroke, so...). It is a line from a poem, but it is also a line of scripture, so perhaps that's why it pops into my mind occasionally, though in my mind it is wrong.

"Dare to be up and doing" is the line.

It doesn't quite come from Longfellow's A Psalm of Life (1838), which states, "Let us, then, be up and doing," nor is it quite from Alma 60:24 (translated in 1829), which states, "begin to be up and doing."

Perhaps it's just my mind smashing a bunch of well-known and oft-quoted lines together?

I don't know where it came from, but I like it.

We talked about Isaiah 52:7 in Sunday school today and that's what popped into my head when we were discussing why Isaiah chose to talk about the messenger's feet. My answer (which I didn't share with the class, but which I did write down on my paper) was because God's messengers are an "up and doing" kind of people.

In General Conference in April 1998, President Hinckley said, "I wish to be up and doing. I wish to face each day with resolution and purpose. I wish to use every waking hour to give encouragement, to bless those whose burdens are heavy, to build faith and strength of testimony."

I, too, wish I was as up and doing as that. Actions are what carry us through life, as Longfellow describes in his poem:

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
     Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
     And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
     And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
     Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
     Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
     Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
     And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
     Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
     In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
     Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
     Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
     Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
     We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
     Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
     Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
     Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
     With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
     Learn to labor and to wait.

Sometimes we second-guess our actions. We wonder if our actions are necessary or good enough, but, honestly, if it's a good thing to do, dare to do it. Taking action is better than standing still. Or, as Camilla Kimball would say, "Never suppress a generous thought."

Today our friends the Holbeins brought us dinner, even though we told them we were fine.
My friend Kara talked in the hallway with me for half of Sunday School and I didn't even feel bad about skipping out.
Sister Fenn helped Miriam get all set up to play the organ during prelude (and even though she made a few mistakes, she just kept on playing like a champ).
Dozens of friends joined us in fasting and prayer.

And I appreciated it all (so I need to remember to dare to be up and doing as well).

1 comment:

  1. I love that poem! And I am so glad that Miriam still got to play the organ--I wondered about that.