part of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1916
Another small project completed tonight! Yayyy! Back sometime in the 1990′s I found this embroidery project and fell in love with it. I embroidered it way back then but with all the changes in my life at that time, I never got around to getting it framed and it ended up in a box of unfinished projects. I came across it a few days ago while looking for something and decided to frame it in fabric instead of a regular old picture frame. A very simple project to complete and I was able to do it this evening.
For your reading pleasure I will copy the whole poem into this post and explain why I like it so much, though I think that is easy to figure out if you have known me for very long.
But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.
One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.
Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
Though she is not a well-remembered poet and was often criticized for being “too romantic” etc, there is a line from another poem of hers that is very well-known actually. I was surprised as I was writing this tonight and reading a little about her when I came across this line from her poem Solitude–”"Laugh and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone.” I dare say there are very few who are not familiar with that line!
I’ve always been charmed by some philosophical poetry and writings throughout my life, though I won’t claim to understand much of what I read. There are those times, however, when something I read just grabs me and it stays with me forever. The poem says a lot about our self-esteem and how good or bad, it will determine the goals we set for ourselves. As she says in the last line, not the calm or the strife of our lives. We will have those times when trials come our way and times when life is just going along very nicely for a while. But how do we feel about ourselves?
Self-esteem has always been something i have struggled with my whole life, not believing in myself or in my abilities to succeed at many things. Sometimes I had help with that self-esteem being even lower due to unfair criticism by another person, but I allowed that to happen to a certain extent so I can’t totally lay the blame elsewhere. This poem is a great reminder for me that I control how I feel about myself. I can set those goals and make them! Not alone, but with God’s help and guidance.
As I have grown older and developed a closer walk with the Lord, I have seen that become more evident in my life and my self-esteem has actually improved to a better state than it ever was. Having a better self-esteem also leads to a better attitude about things as well–a more positive attitude that I CAN carry out some of my goals. I am NOT a failure at life. As it says in my life verse from the Bible, I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil 4:13) . Silly though it may seem finishing a small sewing project tonight that involved a philosophical piece of poetry that I love pushed home that point to me once again. The Lord works in many ways to get our attention and send us encouraging messages, doesn’t He?