What will your verse be?

For those whose words and thoughts develop on their iPhone or iPad or MacBook, you are very aware of Apple’s most recent catch phrase: “What will your verse be?” And yet, those whose hearts were left a little bit broken or quietly aching with the news of Robin Williams’ tragic and oh-too-soon passing, will clearly remember the phrase from one of his memorable films, “Dead Poet’s Society,” a film I recently revisited, many years after its release.

His role in this film is as English teacher, John Keating. And quickly into the film, we see him with his students, a group of boys in a toney, New England prep school, who simply seem so familiar. He gathers his students around and squats down to their eye level. And, he quietly explains to them why we read and write poetry:

And so, what will YOUR verse be? What contribution to this life will you make?

Clearly, there are times when we wonder what our purpose in this world must be…what could just “one” person do that would create any significant change in this vast sea of chaos and conflict that sits beside the quieter glories of sunrises and sunsets?

What will your verse be?

It appears to me that in our frantic desire to excel and climb over each other to achieve and compete, we may have lost the focus and purpose of this one life we’ve been given. How do we balance achievement and success with calculated competition in order to do one good deed? Whatever happened to the unspoken kindness the Hebrews refer to as a mitzvah? Must everything we do and say become so public so as to trump what the other guy has done? Life, to me, ought to be far less cutthroat than this.

What will your verse be?

I recall those who influenced my own life along the way, and none of those people knowingly pushed their ideologies upon me. Their greatness, to me, was measured in the silence of their goodness. I was the beneficiary of all of those people who, if they only knew now, would be quite surprised at how their gentle lives impacted mine.

What will your verse be?

There is newness in the change of seasons: summer wanes and autumn casts its shortened shadows upon us. School has started and all I can think of is how good those fresh starts in all of our lives are. Are we even marginally aware of the many fresh starts and new beginnings we are given? How about this morning’s fresh start?

And so, when all is  pondered, said, and done, what will your verse be?


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