Let us live and love
And not care tuppence for them,
Who sermonise and disapprove.
Suns when they sink can rise again,
But we, when our brief light has shone,
Must sleep the long night on and on.
Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence.
Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new -
Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches will fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?
Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,
A shape less recognisable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,
Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation - marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;
A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.
NO stir in the air, no stir in the sea,
The ship was still as she could be;
Her sails from heaven received no motion;
Her keel was steady in the ocean.
Without either sign or sound of their shock,
The waves flowed over the Inchcape Rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape Bell.
The Abbot of Aberbrothok
Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock;
On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,
And over the waves its warning rung.
When the rock was hid by the surge’s swell,
The mariners heard the warning bell;
And then they knew the perilous rock,
And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.
The sun in heaven was shining gay;
All things were joyful on that day;
The sea-birds screamed as they wheeled round,
And there was joyance in their sound.
The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen,
A darker speck on the ocean green:
Sir Ralph the Rover walked his deck,
And he fixed his eye on the darker speck.
He felt the cheering power of spring;
It made him whistle, it made him sing:
His heart was mirthful to excess,
But the Rover’s mirth was wickedness.
His eye was on the Inchcape float;
Quoth he, “My men, put out the boat,
And row me to the Inchcape Rock,
And I ’ll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”
The boat is lowered, the boatmen row,
And to the Inchcape Rock they go;
Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,
And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.
Down sunk the bell with a gurgling sound;
The bubbles rose and burst around:
Quoth Sir Ralph, “The next who comes to the rock
Won’t bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”
Sir Ralph the Rover sailed away;
He scoured the seas for many a day;
And now, grown rich with plundered store,
He steers his course for Scotland’s shore.
So thick a haze o’erspreads the sky,
They cannot see the sun on high:
The wind hath blown a gale all day;
At evening it hath died away.
On the deck the Rover takes his stand;
So dark it is, they see no land.
Quoth Sir Ralph, “It will be lighter soon,
For there is the dawn of the rising moon.”
“Canst hear,” said one, “the breakers roar?
For methinks we should be near the shore.”
“Now where we are I cannot tell,
But I wish I could hear the Inchcape Bell.”
They hear no sound; the swell is strong;
Though the wind hath fallen, they drift along,
Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock:
“O Christ! it is the Inchcape Rock!”
Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,
He curst himself in his despair:
The waves rush in on every side;
The ship is sinking beneath the tide.
But even in his dying fear
One dreadful sound could the Rover hear,—
A sound as if, with the Inchcape Bell,
The Devil below was ringing his knell.
Making decisions in life is hard. Its a worry. Its a moment in time where all the comforting possibilities are whittled right down to just a few. Its tempting to think of those as limited to success or failure. Maybe even partial success but its more complicated than that.
Ive taken the decision to start businesses, leave businesses, go back to University and even more significant and terrifying decisions in my personal life. To be fair, I think Ive done a good job so far. So far so good.
But how do you know if a decision is the right one? Is there a way to be sure that whatever you pick is the best choice? That it will surpass anything and everything that might have been?
Sorry but Nope.
You can’t know. You’ll never know for sure. You can't examine all of your possible futures and thats just tough.
But, you do know one thing and thats the thing that really matters. No matter how things play out, you will gain from the experience.
That something could be financial, educational, or it could just be a lesson learned. Perhaps a particularly tough one. Its irrelevant, because what you can say for sure is that the results you end up with will never amount to zero.
That decision could end up being just another decision you made in a long string of them. It could also be huge. But the point is you can’t try to quantify it before it has played out. Don’t try to put all the weight of the world in the decision.
A decision is just a single moment in your career. In the scheme of things it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re moving forward. Stop worrying about the things that don’t matter! Trying to figure out whether this is the moment that you “made it” will keep you from moving forward. And it will make it much harder to decide between everything you have going on. Which option will get me my “moment”? Why will it get me “there”?
What’s important is that you decided to do anything at all in the first place.
And what’s likely is that whatever “moment” you’re looking for hasn’t happened yet.
Spend all your time in the in-between space, the time between starting and stopping.
And remember that whatever decision you make, it will get you somewhere.
So go on. Jump. What's the worst that can happen?
Decisions aren’t ever right or wrong.
Your career hasn’t made it or not made it.
The magic is in the jump.