Unitarian Thomas Edison’s 4th grade teachers said he was “unable to learn.” Another Unitarian friend, Louisa May Alcott, was told by an editor that her writing would never appeal to the public. And believe it or not, Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for his lack of good ideas!
So today’s post is about no one else predicting for you what your future will hold. It is about persistence, about staying true to who you are or more accurately, discovering who you are. I have lived long enough to recognize that those that live in the past of their “glory days” are inhabiting a life too small and confining for the ocean of possibilities out there.
When my eldest daughter was in high school, she oftentimes felt (as so many others at that tender age do) like an outsider. Pep rallies, the hottest Juicy Couture, or the latest teen craze never quite resonated with her. She maneuvered the daily mores of the social hierarchy in her own quiet way, trying not to appear awkward, avoiding attention.
Never seeking the limelight, her passions, perhaps peculiar for her age, were what consumed her thoughts and shaped her life in a way quite different from her peers.
Hair in a disheveled bun, with clips carelessly attempting to contain a mane of hair, she would move through the halls with an oversized satchel, overflowing with papers, read and unread. Flyers for social justice events, calls to raise awareness for the victims of Darfur, fund-raising to assist the microlending opportunities for women in the Dominican Republic, all shoved and crumpled in the bursting sack. One history teacher humorously remarked, “You always come to school looking like a homeless person.”
I don’t know how old you are. We always say that age doesn’t really matter, “you’re as young as you feel”. But I also know that aging is a big deal in our culture, and that youth is an idol like no other.
Yet remember that you still contain buds ripe for blossoming. Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until her 70s. Never count yourself out.
“Why should she give her bounty to the dead? What is divinity if it can come only in silent shadows and in dreams? Shall she not find in comforts of the sun, in pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else in any balm or beauty of the earth, things to be cherished like the thought of heaven. Divinity must live within herself: Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow; grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued elations when the forest blooms; gusty emotions on wet roads on autumn nights; all pleasures and all pains, remembering the bough of summer and the winter branch. These are the measures destined for her soul.”
The poem, Sunday Morning; the poet, Wallace Stevens- published in his fifties.