Monday, May 14, 2012

The Four S's

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Frederick Douglass
Hello Stuart
Not forever by still waters
Would we idly quiet stay,
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.
(L. Willas)
Maybe you've heard the old formula for success, the three P's: Patience, Passion and Persistence. Well, I propose the following formula for survival, the four S's: SEEK, SEARCH, STRIVE and STRUGGLE.

One of life's greatest enigmas is the injustice of nature. Why does one person have it easy and another has it hard? Why is one person loaded with advantages and another has to scratch in the ground to get any thing? Why does one person prove his manhood by climbing Mount Everest while the guy in the next town proves his by keeping his kids fed and finding cast off garments that almost fit to dress them?

I'm not ashamed to say I grew up poor nor am I bragging to say that I survived it. I was born into an upper middle class family. Four years later my father died, at an early age. There was no income. My mother had a nervous breakdown and emerged from that with an iron will. She was a devout Christian woman whose prayers were rarely if ever answered. When my older brother and sister left home, she sold the house and I started my vagabond life.

Each place we found to live was worse than the one before, and some of them were very temporary. We eventually ended up in a shack with no central heating and sometimes no electricity. We were poor white trash, slum dwellers, in a wealthy suburb of New York City.

SEEK - Seek out the hidden, buried and discarded things with the faith that you'll find them. When something is uncovered make use of it. If it isn't, you do without.

SEARCH - When real need arises it must be found, whether it's an item or an idea. Be inquisitive and adventurous about it. There are more answers residing in the human mind than most humans are aware of. We must learn to trust our own thinking ability.

STRIVE - For those who have little or nothing striving is a way of life. My mother never had a trouble free day. She faced life with grim determination, stress, deep depression and arthritic fingers. And she survived. Strife is the activity, and progress is the possible result.

STRUGGLE - Don't think for one lazy moment that it isn't going to be a struggle, because it is. When you're poor no one shows up to help you carry the burden up the hill. The days are too long, the task is too hard, the reward is too small and the discouragement is too big. When the end comes, even though you know the struggle will continue the next day, you pull whatever cover you have over yourself and be glad you made it through another day.

When the morning comes, even though you don't want to, you rise, take your staff and smite the living fountains from the rocks in your way.

Living with my mother taught me about seek, search, strive and struggle. And it also taught me to...

Never give up.
DB - The Vagabond


Patricia said...

Thank you. Once again, you have provided me with the inspiration I need to move on, even in a most difficult time.

Ken Riches said...

We all face struggles, but seeking and searching is a valuable trait to have.