Calm

Calm

Pentecost 46

 

The idea of remaining calm seems like a pretty good thing and yet, it has been disclaimed throughout time and space, literature and spirituality.  The thirteenth century poet known as Rumi stated the opinion of many most succinctly:  ““Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!”

 

These are certainly times that try our attempts at remaining calm. By giving in to fear and allowing these criminals to steal our calm, however, we are admitting defeat. No matter how difficult it is, we must remain calm. There is a difference in being calm and in being inactive. Remaining composed is essential as is taking action. Becoming hysterical accomplishes nothing and neither does running around scared to live.

 

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote an excellent description of how we should react in these extraordinary times of trial when the unthinkable has become the ordinary. “To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.”

 

Rudyard Kipling wrote an entire poem about it.

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

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;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

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;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

 

These are the days that need our calm, our faith, our hope.

 

 

 

 

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