23. Interpretation

This book of mine lays no claim to be a pageant of all life’s joys; it leaves many things untouched and untold; but it is a plea for this; that those who have to endure the common lot of life, who cannot go where they would, whose leisure is but a fraction of the day, before the morning’s toil and after the task is done, whose temptation it is to put everything else away except food and sleep and work and anxiety, not liking life so but finding it so;”it is a plea that such as these should learn how experience, even under cramped conditions, may be finely and beautifully interpreted, and made rich by renewed intention. Because the secret lies hid in this, that we must observe life intently, grapple with it eagerly; and if we have a hundred lives before us, we can never conquer life till we have learned to ride above it, not welter helplessly below it. And the cramped and restricted life is all the grander for this, that it gives us a nobler chance of conquest than the free, liberal, wealthy, unrestrained life.


     — Benson, Joyous Gard, Interpretation


This morning I wish to speak to the same audience that Benson addresses in the above passage – to “those who have to endure the common lot of life, who cannot go where they would, whose leisure is but a fraction of the day¦”


Friend, do you ever feel as though life beats you up? Oh, I know that everyone has his or her own struggles, but do you sometimes feel isolated and alone in your problems? I think on some level we can all relate to that.


When I’m feeling low, I try to rest on the assurance that my efforts to “ride above life” aren’t in vain and that somehow I am growing by constantly seeking to enjoy her beauty. I tell myself that my spirit is safe as long as I am able to sense the presence of God’s hand in my life.


It’s liberating to feel as though I’m not “going it alone” — that God is ultimately overseeing my affairs and the direction in my life. I find also that hardship tends to strengthen relationships with trusted and close friends. And isn’t that how it should be? That you feel a kinship and a bond of mutual trust with those closest to you?


As I see it, the road of life is full of potholes, dead ends and unfamiliar crossings. And yet I know that in control of my passage is a power much greater than that of my own intellect; it is the power of God himself. His design for my life is beautiful, and I know that I must work daily to maintain the searching spirit that enjoys such design. My friend, don’t let the burden of a heavy heart cloud your view to the greater things, but make for yourself a place in your mind, a Joyous Gard, to realize your purpose and the beauty that surrounds it.


Day 23 Guide


It’s Monday; consider today a fresh start, and try to wipe away the things that burden your spirit and make you anxious.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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