Thursday, February 17, 2011

No Little Bravehearts

Most of our children will need courage to just make life work, bravehearts who meet every day's challenges and fears with grace and strength.  While lofty dreams and world changing passions are the arenas where bravehearts play, so are the dreams and passions and feelings in homes, offices, workshops, schools, and smithies. 

There are no little bravehearts; there is nothing ordinary about a life lived with courage.

I see it every day in the eyes of students walking into school.  Many are mustering the courage to say "Hi" to me, and that is before they even get in the door.  Leaving mom, writing ideas that are shared in a group, working a math problem on the board, walking past someone she likes, telling a friend not to do that...the pinpoints for courage each day go on and on.  They are what a successful life requires.

The blacksmith in the poem below isn't famous or changing the thousands.  But he is facing the world and forging lives, stroke by stroke, day by day.  While the poem doesn't say much about courage, as you read, think about what it takes for the blacksmith to keep going.  Think about your children and yourself.  Often the courage to put one step in front of another is greater than that of a famed hero.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow shows the courage in everyday life in this poem, "The Village Blacksmith."  Here is to the many who are bravehearts in every day life, courage and faith beyond understanding just to keep going, making a difference where God places them.

"Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

"His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

"Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

"And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

"He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
The Village Smithy by Konstantin Rodko
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

"It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipe
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

"Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!"

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