By Douglas Ray Chism
I sat down today to write a piece of commentary that would inspire and give another of my peers something to look to for a sense of hope. It seemed every time I would begin. 1t became apparent that 1t would be me who was looking for strength to overcome the things going on around me.
I would begin to write. and would be interrupted by howling screams of babbling imbeciles or hostile diatribes aimed at me and what I hold dear. The more I was forced to listen to the elements of my surroundings. the more enraged I would become. I had became unable to concentrate on the things I had spent hours prepping for; so much so. that I considered scrapping the entree idea. I was totally consumed by my anger and frustration. and desperately needed to find a source of inspiration and peace before I exploded, so I paced. As I did. I thought about an article I recently read about Ludwig Van Beethoven. and about the many obstacles he had to overcome during the course of his life. let me explain.
When Beethoven completed his second symphony he began ot lose his hearing. Now consider this for a moment. Here is a man who spent his entire life writing and composing music and he was losing his ability to hear. By the time he turned 50 years old. this master of the symphony was completely deaf. Can you imagine how devastated this man must have been? But he didn't concede to his disability, in fact, he reacted quite contrary; he continued to compose even though he could hear none of his compositions. One of his most famous compositions was the "Ode To Joy" and he never heard a note of it. That's only one such masterpiece he composed after losing his hearing; there are a number of others who classical muscians will admit. are some of the best symphonies ever composed to this day.
Life wasn't easy for Beethoven. he had to deal with anger and frustration too, so much, that there was even a time 1n his life that he even considered ending it all. that's right. he considered suicide. He even went to the extreme of writing his family members a suicide note. I don't think anyone would have blamed Beethoven for given up on composing music, because let's be honest, it's rather ridiculous for a man whose deaf to be trying to write and compose music. In all likelihood. he probably felt the same way alot of times. However, because he was able to hear the music in his mind's eye and could look beyond the things that effected him in a negative way, he went on to create several additional wonderful musical works. Had he given in to the initial feelings he had musical history would have been dramatically different.
History makes mention of several shining examples like Beethoven - painter's who lost their eyesight, runners who lost their legs and many others. A wise man once said: "Man and no one else is the architect of his own destiny. From moment to moment we are producing and creating our destiny through our thought, our speech and deeds." Think about it, if we are able to focus on our desires. and put our minds to the test. we can perservere against any odds.
I have to sit back and think, what's really preventing me from achieving my goals? What obstacles or excuses have caused me to say: " I cannot concentrate" or "The task I have in mind is actually too difficult for me to understake" and abandon my ambitions? You know what I came up with? That it's not always going to be easy to succeed, we are going to have to endure hardships that stand in our way no matter what if accomp11shment 1s something we truly hope for. This requires perserverance. Sometimes it means sticking through all of the 111 things happening in your life - like Beethoven did when things seemed to be all over with in his musical career. He never capitulated and we can't either.
When you face tests and trials in your life, what are your reactions? Do you continue to pursue what you've set out to do no matter what resistance you meet? It's easy to give up on what seems like an insurmountable problem. It's difficu1t to learn and develop the skills to be successful in achieving our aspirations. yet this is what each of us is called upon to do. Not only for ourselves but those most important to us as well.
Granted. Beethoven's life work is something he could never enjoy like you and I can. but his example applies to everyone he was determined to conqure the obstacles deafness provided through perserverance and a highly developed skill in what he loved and cared about. B.H. Liddle Hart said this: "Is there a practica1 way of combining progress towards the attainment of truth with progress towards its acceptance? A possible solution to the problem is suggested by reflection on strategic principa1s which point to the importance of maintaining an objective consistency and also of pursuing it in a way adapted to circumstances." I think this tells us that no matter what the circumstances may be. we can achieve great things if we are consistant in our pursuits and deal with any hinderances head on instead of folding to the frustrations and discouragement we are certain to encounter during our lifetime. After sitting here and considering all my thoughts. I believe I found the source of inspiration I needed to press on towards my goals. It was right here with me the whole time all it took was for me to focus on what inspires me to begin with.
© Copyright 2003 Douglas Ray Chism
Douglas is no longer listed as a prisoner.