what words help you?

I saw a great movie today – Invictus.   In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you.   Just know Clint Eastwood directed it.   As far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to go see it.   Basically, it’s a story about Nelson Mandela during his term as President of South Africa.   It’s also about rugby.

And it’s not about Nelson Mandela or rugby.   It’s about leadership, change, risk taking, hope, reconciliation, trusting in humanity, faith, wisdom, brokenness, poetry, forgiveness and the power of words.

I love the power of words.

As you can imagine from the title of this movie – some of the powerful words in it include this great Henley poem.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.


Hearing and reading this poem again just plain stirred me.    It made me think about the words I return to over and over when I need strength, reminders or a reality check.    If I had to pick one single line from literature, poetry or a song that I’d call my favorite, it would be from Tolkien – “Not all those who wander are lost.”   In fact one of the few pieces of jewelry I regularly wear is a ring that carries this message.

What single line , verse or passage works for you?

5 thoughts on “what words help you?

  1. I think I can, I think I can!
    from The Little Engine That Could
    Merry Christmas, Lisa.
    Peace, Robin

  2. “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” Marcus Aurelius

    This is my project for the last few years, Lisa, and it’s working!

    Have a wonderful Christmas —


  3. may I have two please? (please Suh, I want some more)

    one is from John – seek the truth and the truth shall set you free

    another is from Johnny Nash – I can see clearly now, the rain is gone

  4. To me, no truer words were ever written than William Ernest Henley’s line, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

    Always amazing how we’ve lost so much of our lives to blaming other people and other things for our lot in life. (Guilty!) And it’s alway so hard to see that we are really in control of what happens to us….like it or not. Just look at the person in the mirror, and you’ll see the next source of your “bail out.” Damn….I hate it when I can’t count on the government to fix all my problems!

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