Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it’s the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
Days are short lately. I can see the sun dropping long before nighttime is due to come in, I can feel the warm breathy winds of southern winter sinking its teeth into the twilight which seems to last longer than any other twilight ever has in my life before. I am full of the knowledge that it is wintertime – and christmas time is here – and that the winter, my second favorite season, seems to be as indecisive about its calling in life as I am.
I was thinking about the second line in that quote above — that failure is not fatal — and the man who said it. Churchill said those words in a speech he gave in November of 1942 when failure for many was not only personally fatal, but also potentially sealed the fates of their families as well. But when he said those words, he really was talking about the greater good. He was saying that although our men may fail, our armies fall, the very world around us crumble into the sinking dust known as failure; there would still be land to stand on and where there was land there would be its countrymen with beating hearts ready to take their world back again.
I rarely have that sort of “greater good” consideration when I consider my own life, though I am an optimist through and through. So many times I see myself in positions of failure, sometimes to a small degree — not getting a package out on time — and sometimes it feels like I’ve totally dropped the ball — what do you MEAN you’re not a college graduate at 22? — and it always seems so fatal, gavel dropped, judge and jury gone. It’s not that I consider myself a failure, I live a happy life all in all, some endings just have yet to be determined.
I saw Winston’s words tonight though and a new thought — or a really old one — whispered itself into my mind.
You see, I completely believe that my God does not see time as we see it. I believe that He can see the world as it was in its creation as He looks at my highschool graduation, as at the same time He can see the very last breath of the very last man standing on this earth. This gives Him plenty of notice when it comes to planning our lives completely for His glory.
Sometimes I feel like I’m standing in a personal 1942. Around me I know friends are falling by the wayside of life, I know that my courageous armies of careful planning and logic are falling, indeed sometimes it feels like the entire world is crumbling around from the sky down. But though every rock on my alters may roll to the ground, and even if dark rivers rise from the earth, There will still be the Rock which cannot be moved for us to stand on, and where there is the Land of God, there will be His countrymen with beating hearts ready to be as they’ve been meant to be all along.
I think Churchill is right with the ending of his words there “it’s the courage to continue that counts” I don’t know a lot of people with my story, but we all have our sections of life that feel so unreachable, undoable. I know years and years of people who have had success only to see it pass along like the vapor that any mortal success was made to be. There are centuries of stories and specific people I know who have lived years of failure only to find that their happiness lies in things other than what they’ve been putting their hope in all of these years. But what I have seen more than anything is that when a person lets their heart swell with whatever the stuff is that pushes us beyond our own tiny potential — when they find the courage to take the step that can turn their upside down world aright again, and to carry on with that motion, happiness, joy, and new beginnings abound… or maybe it’s just small courage breeds more courage and we trip over our own tiny gem of guts to make it to tomorrow and live in the life we’ve been given and do it joyfully, without remorse or regret.
We have so much we were made to be, and we have a Land that is more solid and everlasting than even Eternal England. In that land we have a specific calling which fits to out personalities each, like a shoe made of the finest leather and cobbled just for your bony ratchet-y foot. With such solid ground beneath us and such cosy shoes on our feet, how could we possibly fail, and the success we will gain is the eternal kind. The land we fight for is our own, though the sky grow dark around us and the world outside cease to be true and light and good, our terra will stand, as will we with the courage — even when it’s the courage to just know we don’t know.
a flighty thought