Carry On!

A few words of encouragement when they're needed most

Gassed by John Singer Sargent, 1919 (public domain - Wikipedia)

“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.” — Albert Schweitzer, 1966

If you’ve been following the news (How can you miss it? The news follows us now!), you’ve no doubt seen the extreme unease, strife and division that has taken hold of America.

I see a good amount of posts on social media from friends and colleagues who are despairing and worried. I believe we’ll make it through this, but I acknowledge that things look bleak to many people right now.

As I was struggling for the words to describe the moment and inject a bit of hope, I came across an old Robert W. Service poem (date unknown) that captured the sentiment.

Carry On!

by Robert W. Service

It's easy to fight when everything's right,
And you're mad with the thrill and the glory;
It's easy to cheer when victory's near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It's a different thing when everything's wrong.
When you're feeling infernally mortal;
When it's ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier and chortle:

     Carry on! Carry on!
   There isn't much punch in your blow.
You're glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
You're muddy and bloody, but never you mind.
     Carry on! Carry on!
   You haven't the ghost of a show.
It's looking like death, but while you've a breath,
   Carry on, my son! Carry on!

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It's easy to fight when you're winning;
It's easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there's a man of God's choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven's own height
Is the man who can fight when he's losing.

     Carry on! Carry on!
   Things never were looming so black.
But show that you haven't a cowardly streak,
And though you're unlucky you never are weak.
     Carry on! Carry on!
   Brace up for another attack.
It's looking like hell, but--you never can tell:
   Carry on, old man! Carry on!

There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt,
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why, there's the real sunshine of living.

     Carry on! Carry on!
   Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There's big work to do, and that's why you are here.
     Carry on! Carry on!
   Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry:
     Carry on, my soul! Carry on!

My wish for you today and always is that you find the strength to carry on. Find it through the relationships you cherish, the books you read, and the leaders you admire.

The inspiration is there. It’s just waiting for you to discover it and to share it with others.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the internet.