Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Warning: Providence Moving

One of my most cherished couplets is included in the writings of William Hutchison Murray, a Scottish writer and mountain climber, who chronicled his experiences in many books about the art and craft of climbing. It is a passage in his 1951 book titled, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, and incorporates the verse most often associated with Germany’s Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The couplet reads:

'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.'

It is an incredibly inspiring and empowering thing to remember when attempting to do what everybody says you can’t, or shouldn’t. And, if you are of any faith at all, it is the entirety of the piece that truly gives power to whatever endeavour you choose.

In the past, I have worked as a hotel housekeeper, a custodian, a security guard, a sales clerk, and a reservations agent. I’ve flipped burgers, fried chicken, answered phones and thrown newspapers in the middle of the night. So many times, I’ve been employed in places where I have to remind myself that, “This is not who I am, this is what I do.” Now, I am excited to announce that I am ‘The Oldest Intern’. And, for the first time I will be working in an environment that will, in a small, first-step kind of way, affirm who I am: a writer. In addition to working for a local newspaper, I am also been considered for a position with my school’s newspaper as the Managing Editor, and eventually the Editor-In-Chief. This position, though only a student position, comes with a small stipend, which I would gladly accept. It is a position that I’d wondered about before, but because I was so ‘caught up’ with the day-to-day nonsense of the job, I never really had time or energy to pursue it. Now, with my resignation day close at hand (one week!), and my mind and spirit at ease, opened to new blessings and possibilities, this proposition just dropped into my email. I once heard someone say something like, ‘grace is what happens when you’ve tried the very best that you can, and then the universe steps in to help.’

I believe it.

from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951
By: W.H. Murray

Until one is committed there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour
all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamt would come his way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:'
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.'

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