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  • Writer's pictureRevShirleyMurphy

A Better Way To Live

Did you know...? That Joan of Arc was only seventeen when she was riding at the head of the army that liberated France from the English? That church reformer John Calvin was twenty-six when he published his "Institutes"? That poet John Keats died when he was twenty-six?

That Shelley was thirty when he was drowned, but not before he left English literature his classic "Odes"? That Sir Isaac Newton had largely discovered the working of the law of gravitation when he was twenty-three? That Henry Clay, the "great compromiser," was sent to the United States Senate at twenty-nine and was Speaker of the House of Representatives at thirty-four? That Raphael painted his most important pictures between twenty-five and thirty? That Mozart only lived to be thirty-five years old? Maybe I'm just a late bloomer. When I was a young girl I wanted to make things happen. After a few years I realised, I would have to content myself with watching most things happen. Unfortunately, these days I usually have no idea what is happening. Of course, most of us will never paint a masterpiece, write a classic or discover an important scientific principle. But why should we? We're each cut from a unique pattern. Dick Van Dyke once told the story of a woman taking her nephew to her Catholic church. She whispered to him as they approached the pew: "Can you genuflect?" "No," he said, "but I can somersault!" I wonder if he showed her right then and there. I can almost see him rolling down the aisle in a joyous celebration of the thing he CAN do, with no regard for genuflecting, the thing he cannot do. Some people waste lives obsessing on that thing they cannot do, wishing they were more competent. And some measure the value of their abilities against those of others, wishing they could contribute in a bigger and better way. You and I may never be a Mozart, a Raphael or a John Keats. But there are things you CAN do to bring beauty or joy or happiness to your world. Find them. Do them. Celebrate them. Rejoice in them. I can hardly think of a better way to live.

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