Recently I was invited to offer some thoughts on a friend who is being honored for his years of service to individuals and families who are experiencing disability in Vancouver, BC. Knowing that I could not clear my calendar to actually attend, the planners asked me to send a video with some remarks.
As I reflected on my friend and his career, I looked to find some sayings, or a poem that might be relevant, and I began to pour through my poetry books for inspiration.
I didn't get far when I found, what is probably my favorite poem, and it fit so well for my friend. It was the poem, "If," by Rudyard Kipling, which was published in 1910. This poem is a classic and what is brilliant about its construction is the juxtaposition of the good and bad. With lines like, "If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same," Kipling promotes a life of balance.
This notion of balance, of being able to blend and diversify is, I believe, a key element to full life success. The balance of work and family, of social and serious, of laughing and crying are the notions of keeping us alive. You appreciate the highs when you stay aware of the lows. As Kipling says: "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue; or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much." This typified my friend in Vancouver and was perfect for my remarks.
So take a minute now, and read Kipling's masterpiece, "If." You can quickly find this with a simple google search, and as you read it, think about your own life. Can you relate, and if not, think about the changes necessary to balance your life.