If you are a member of a BGLO, an avid reader, and/or attended a school that encouraged literary work in its assignments the word “Invictus” brings up certain feelings/memories for you. I love this poem but in my youth I found it difficult to reconcile some of its sentences with my faith. There was no way in the world I was going to recite, “I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul“.
What in the blasphemy?
My faith teaches their is only one God and in my mind repeating this line would be blasphemous and lead to damnation. As I grew older, I developed and realized that there was a whole meaning behind the poem that did not involve asking monotheistic followers to “sin their souls”. It wasn’t merely written for a rhyming scheme, instead, the author, William Ernest Henley, found himself in a situation that many would have allowed to pull them under. I am sure as he sat in the hospital, suffering and dealing with challenges, diagnosed with tuberculosis, which deteriorated further, requiring amputation of one of his legs, Mr. Henley surely felt overcome by his situation. Life had come at him hard and fast. I can only imagine, the ways in which isolation led to depression and thoughts of suicide. Not being one to fold, Henley penned Invictus in what must have been his darkest hour. My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Mr. Henley penned the way in which his life was to unfold. He was still here and in the face of tragedy had decided to live until he died. He was becoming the architect of his destiny!
In Promised Land by President Barack Obama he discusses his mom being the architect of her own destiny. He describes how she was not one to let people or society dictate what she should do, how she should act or how she should feel. His words resonated with me. I have on more than one occasion fallen victim to life happening to me. Of course I’ve risen to the occasion but it wasn’t by design. I defaulted into my architect role, acknowledging God as the master architect. He knows my ending and everything in between but He won’t force me to follow. It’s time for me to get on board, to begin designing and creating the life that I want. I am happy. I am loved, but I want more.
In 2020…life happened, to all of us, and we rolled with the punches. We dealt with what we were handed. We made lemonade out of lemons…but today is a new day! The end of a year many did not anticipate and the beginning of a year full of promise. So like I do every year, I welcome 2021 with open arms and I encourage you to do the same. Grab your pen, your hammer, your chisel, your brush and begin designing the life you want. I can’t promise you there won’t be any hiccups along the way but I promise I’ll be right here with you. We are the master of our fates, we are the captains of our soul!
Invictus–the invincible, the unconquerable!
See you in the new year!