“Encouraging Words Today” – July 7, 2011
“TO STRIVE, TO SEEK, TO FIND,
AND NOT TO YIELD”
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Last week I went home again.
Home to the small town in Georgia where I lived in the same house, ‘Pinecrest’ from birth until adulthood. Being a native, I went to school with the very same folks until I serendipitously departed after my junior year for university and Life Beyond Thomasville. I didn’t get to be a high school senior with the rest of my class and I probably missed some bonding there. But I never regret my decision at that juncture of my life. God knew there was some individuation that needed to take place in my heart and soul quite apart from hometown influences and expectations. College launched me on a path and I’ve never looked back. Still, that abrupt tearing from childhood perhaps contributed to my not keeping in touch with folks over the years.
As life would have it, I ended up traveling and working all over the world plus various parts of this country, eventually ending up in New England for the past 20 years. When I heard that our class would be having a 40th reunion I decided to gather two special girlfriends for moral support and embrace my past with vigor. Claire from Nashville and Jenny from Denver graciously came (and were glad they did) but probably thought this whole idea was a bit crazy.
We had a marvelous time. People were so kind and generous and gracious and fun. Life had beaten most of us pretty hard in various ways but the resilience and hope and perseverance brightly shown through the wrinkles and gray hair. What people did vocationally or had achieved or even whether or not they had spouses or children/grandchildren seemed far less important to me than the simple fact that these were the people who ‘knew me when.’ These were the men and women I had spent a south Georgia childhood with, weathered the turbulent‘60s, and now, yes, grown old through grace and gratitude.
I couldn’t help but think of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” where he imagines the old travel-worn Ulysses brooding over what to do after having seen the world:
“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Truly, with other Class of ’71 heroic hearts, I find that much abides. And no, we don’t have the strength that once moved earth and heaven (this week one of our own – Nicky, a Naval pilot, died unexpectedly). But I do believe that even though many of us have been made weak by time and fate, we remain strong in will.
Yes, I went home again — and found a new vision to continue going forward in my life for however many days there are left. Who I am now is inextricably tied with those from whence I came. I am a small town Georgia gal. It just so happened that my unique Life Story was called by God to live out among other people and other places….for now.
Thank you, Class of ’71, for embracing this long-lost friend. May we all – today and forever – strive to Seek, to Find, and not to Yield…
under the mercy, Cindy
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46.4)
©2011 Lucinda Secrest McDowell