This week’s thought is from a little poem by the American poet Edwin Markham:
We are all blind until we see that in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making if it doesn’t make the man.
Why build these cities glorious if man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build a world unless the builder also grows.
Which raises an interesting question: While I’m busy building things in my life—career, business, family, friendships—what is being built in me?
In the midst of all the activities of my life, what am I growing into? What kind of man, woman, human being?
Am I growing more compassionate or more cynical? More courageous or more fearful? More joyful or more disappointed and discouraged? Am I learning to combine the spirit of my inner child with the wisdom of experience? Am I growing a little deeper?
I think it’s easy to neglect that question. But we should remember three things.
First, the kind of person I am will have an impact on the people around me. As someone has said, every life has an aroma. Some attractive, some not so much.
Second, the kind of person I am will affect the way I see everything. As the saying goes, when a pickpocket looks at a great man, he only sees pockets.
Third, when all the building is over in my life, the question of what kind of human being I have grown into will take on even greater significance.
So maybe it would be good, now, to at least give a little attention to that quiet question.
The poet Carl Sandburg, writing about Abraham Lincoln, said that in the years of his obscurity, “he was growing silently, like the corn.” It was that silent growth that, later, enabled him to guide America through one of its greatest crises.