Monday, January 30, 2006
Saturday, January 28, 2006
What follows is quite likely my favourite poem. I think I'd like it (or the shortened version of it) on my tombstone.
By Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy (1844–1881)
This poem comes from the collection Music and Moonlight (1874). It is often quoted, but rarely provided in its entirety: often even where it is assumed to be complete, only the first three stanzas are actually given.
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample a kingdom down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself in our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming—
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.
They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man's soul it hath broken,
A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man's heart.
And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day's late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.
But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.
For we are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry—
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God's future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
It's a strange occurrence - hitting one of those legendary mile markers in life. I turned 30 yesterday. This 'entree into my fourth decade of living on planet earth has afforded me an opportunity to reflect deeply (or at least more than usual) on my life. Specifically: where I'm headed; if I'm pleased about that direction; how it affects those who love me most and what choices I need to make now to correct any directional discrepancies. There's a lot there but it's all good stuff. I guess it can be simplified to a personal inventory of what makes Shane, Shane and if that's consistent with the Shane that God says I'm becoming. Overall, I am grateful for the run of thirty years God has developed me through, I'm content with where He's brought my family and I now and I'm very excited about the adventure that He's laying out ahead of us. God is so very, very good! So here's to what's left of my time on earth (before this body's food for worms) - doing what God has called me to, with people I love - through the joy and the pain of it . . forward we go! Peace to you wherever you find yourself this day.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
This past year and a half in my job with the Church of Ireland Youth Department has been wonderful on so many levels. Not least, the historic elements of the island that I face daily, which, being a lover of history is no small thing. Even our offices are steeped in history and are tied to none other than the man, the legend . . C.S. Lewis himself. Lewis' grandfather was the rector of St. Marks Parish in Dundela, East Belfast, Co. Down, Northern Ireland when Lewis was a child in the first part of the 20th century. The Rectory (where a Rector lives) is located next to St. Marks and is now office space for organisations born out of the Church of Ireland. Our Youth Department had been located there for over twenty years. Lewis was baptised in that church and he stayed in the Rectory when he'd visit his grandparents as a child. Some even say he slept in the attic space (servants' quarters) in which our offices were located until three weeks ago. It is quite conceivable that Lewis would have been able to see that great ship - the Titanic - being built from his own neighbourhood in the Belfast shipyards. With the recent release of the film The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, I thought it might be cool to post a picture of the front door of the Rectory at St. Marks. The door is the only part of the building that is protected as an historic item. And you'll notice that the door handle is none other than a lion's head. Could this have been a source of some of Lewis' inspiration for Aslan coupled with the figure of his grandfather, the clergyman? Who knows? But it is interesting that to enter the Rectory, one must grab hold of the lion as the handle for the door. Bring anything to mind . . . "I am the Way . . Truth . . Life . ." [John 14:6]?
As a side note, Christy and I have been privileged to stay in the home of the stepson of C.S. Lewis - Douglas Gresham - and his wife Merrie. They have been resident in Ireland for the past 14 years (give or take) and are now leaving us for sunnier weather. Great job Douglas on helping bring a vision to reality with the recent release of the film, and blessings on you both as you begin a new adventure!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
So if you do pints . . raise a glass to a wonderful woman - my Hero of the Month - my wife! If you'd like to express your congrats in an e-card or message, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org