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Trailing Clouds of Glory

11 May

The famous poet William Wordsworth wrote “Ode on Imitations of Immortality…” musing on who we are as people, and where we came from. He wrote:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.

I have often read this poem and pondered it, and the part that captures me every time is “But trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.” Whatever your religious beliefs are, or even if you don’t have any beliefs about God or an eternal plan, there have probably been times in your life when you have wondered about who we really are, why we are here, and what will happen when we leave here.

Despite what the news and media tell us continually every day, I believe that most people are good. Most of us try hard to do our best, and be our best. Most of us are willing to help others, and most of us are honest. Of course, as has been since the very beginning, there are some who do not care about doing what is right, and there are some who are frankly evil. But I really believe most of us are good.

If Wordsworth is right, and we came to earth from God, whatever you believe that to be, and our lives are but a “sleep and a forgetting,” what does that mean for us? If we were trailing clouds of glory when we came, are they still with us now? Does the glory disappear after we get here? What if the glory is still with us? What if the clouds of glory trailing behind us when we came are still here? And if they are, what does that mean for us? Shouldn’t we be acknowledging them, and living in ways that magnify them?

When I think about the human race – all of us since the very beginning – there seems in us an innate desire to choose well, and to help others. Think about your life, and look back as far as you can remember. Most of your friends and acquaintances probably were not evil. They probably were not wicked, and they probably were basically good. Of course there are unkind people in the world, and those who don’t care about anyone but themselves, but they are, thankfully, not the norm. Perhaps Mr. Wordsworth was right, and we are trailing clouds of glory that attend to us every day, and help us to choose well.

Today perhaps you will consider this. Look around at those you come in contact with, those you work with, those you interact with, and think about them as people. I think you’ll see that most of them are trying to do good things, and are trying to choose well. And if you do see that, let it grow within you, and build your faith in humanity. We are not perfect by a long shot. But I think there is glory in all of us. I think it’s been there since the beginning. I have it and you have it. Embrace it. Let it shine through every day, and remember who you are. “Trailing clouds of glory…” we can be a blessing to everyone around us.

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