A Psalm of Life
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.
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.
As someone who is constantly struggling with apathy, yet striving to be an active part of God’s kingdom here on Earth, I love this poem. There’s lots of truth here. I was going to highlight parts I particularly love, but that’s pretty much the whole thing. Friends, I fail daily. I know what the Lord requires, and yet I follow my own feelings. That is not the way to “be a hero in the strife.” That won’t leave footprints that point to God. I chase so many things that really don’t matter, and ignore those things that do.
I am thankful that God chooses to look upon me as His precious child. Someone worthy of love, sacrifice, and redemption. That He allows me to be a part of His righteous and glorious works on Earth. I don’t deserve this, yet by the grace that God willingly and abundantly pours out, He uses broken sinners in divine ways. He took the consequences of our actions upon His own body and spirit to enable us “to act, that each to-morrow/Find us farther than to-day.”
I hope that tomorrow I will better honor that sacrifice and cling to hope as a slave to righteousness in Christ.