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The Best Is Yet To Be

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Best Is Yet To Be

Many people have asked me where my sign off line: 'the best is yet to be' is from, and I actually had to do a little research.

The first place I came across it, was as a child on an anniversary card my mother gave my father. I loved the phrase so much that it stuck with me.

From time to time I would hear it in songs on the radio and see it mass produced on various merchandise, but I never really knew where it came from until now...

Rabbi ben Ezra is a poem by British poet, Robert Browning about Abraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167), one of the great poets, mathematicians and scholars of the 12th century.

The poem begins:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be...

The poem in it's entirety is below and definitely worth the read, but I warn you it's very long.

To me, 'the best is yet to be' is the perfect sign off because I truly believe it. I am a hopeful person and love looking forward to events and what will be.

Another phrase I considered was: 'what will be is now becoming' because when I started this blog, I was a brand new mother and I knew from Day 1, it was going to be the most difficult adjustment in my life. A process. A transformation of give and take, push and pull and that day after day, I would be bound and determined to get better at.

Each day, I hope to be a better wife, mother, sister and friend tomorrow than I am today and that I learn from each experience and take them with me as I go.

As a mother, some days are a lot more trying than others and that sometimes means taking two steps back just to make one forward, but I do it, day in and day out, always hoping for the best. Some days are stellar and those are the days I live for, 'the best of' days.

The days that aren't so stellar...well, those are the days I am grateful come to an end and I get to go to bed knowing that tomorrow has to be better!

Having a child really forces you to be in the moment, which has always been a very difficult task for me, but I'm getting better at it because I have to. For Lucas' sake and my own.

Rabbi Ben Ezra
by Robert Browning

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be
afraid!'

Not that, amassing flowers,
Youth sighed, 'Which rose make ours,
Which lily leave and then as best recall?'
Not that, admiring stars,
It yearned, 'Nor Jove, nor Mars;
Mine be some figured flame which blends, transcends
them all!'

Not for such hopes and fears
Annulling youth's brief years,
Do I remonstrate: folly wide the mark!
Rather I prize the doubt
Low kinds exist without,
Finished and finite clods, untroubled by a spark.

Poor vaunt of life indeed,
Were man but formed to feed
On joy, to solely seek and find and feast;
Such feasting ended, then
As sure an end to men;
Irks care the crop-full bird? Frets doubt the
maw-crammed beast?

Rejoice we are allied
To That which doth provide
And not partake, effect and not receive!
A spark disturbs our clod;
Nearer we hold of God
Who gives, than of His tribes that take, I must believe.

Then, welcome each rebuff
That turns earth's smoothness rough,
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!
Be our joys three-parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge
the throe!

For thence,—a paradox
Which comforts while it mocks,—
Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail:
What I aspired to be,
And was not, comforts me:
A brute I might have been, but would not sink
i' the scale.

What is he but a brute
Whose flesh has soul to suit,
Whose spirit works lest arms and legs want play?
To man, propose this test—
Thy body at its best,
How far can that project thy soul on its lone way?

Yet gifts should prove their use:
I own the Past profuse
Of power each side, perfection every turn:
Eyes, ears took in their dole,
Brain treasured up the whole;
Should not the heart beat once 'How good to
live and learn'?

Not once beat 'Praise be thine!
I see the whole design,
I, who saw power, see now love perfect too:
Perfect I call thy plan:
Thanks that I was a man!
Maker, remake, complete,—I trust what Thou
shalt do!'

For pleasant is this flesh;
Our soul, in its rose-mesh
Pulled ever to the earth, still yearns for rest:
Would we some prize might hold
To match those manifold
Possessions of the brute,—gain most, as we did best!

Let us not always say,
'Spite of this flesh to-day
I strove, made head, gained ground upon the whole!'
As the bird wings and sings,
Let us cry, 'All good things
Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than
flesh helps soul!'

Therefore I summon age
To grant youth's heritage,
Life's struggle having so far reached its term:
Thence shall I pass, approved
A man, for aye removed
From the developed brute; a god though in the
germ.

And I shall thereupon
Take rest, ere I be gone
Once more on my adventure brave and new:
Fearless and unperplexed,
When I wage battle next,
What weapons to select, what armour to indue.

Youth ended, I shall try
My gain or loss thereby;
Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold:
And I shall weigh the same,
Give life its praise or blame:
Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being old.

For, note when evening shuts,
A certain moment cuts
The deed off, calls the glory from the grey:
A whisper from the west
Shoots—'Add this to the rest,
Take it and try its worth: here dies another day.'

So, still within this life,
Though lifted o'er its strife,
Let me discern, compare, pronounce at last,
'This rage was right i' the main,
That acquiescence vain:
The Future I may face now I have proved the
Past.'

For more is not reserved
To man, with soul just nerved
To act to-morrow what he learns to-day:
Here, work enough to watch
The Master work, and catch
Hints of the proper craft, tricks of the tool's true play.

As it was better, youth
Should strive, through acts uncouth,
Toward making, than repose on aught found made:
So, better, age, exempt
From strife, should know, than tempt
Further. Thou waitedst age: wait death nor be afraid!

Enough now, if the Right
And Good and Infinite
Be named here, as thou callest thy hand thine own,
With knowledge absolute,
Subject to no dispute
From fools that crowded youth, nor let thee feel
alone.

Be there, for once and all,
Severed great minds from small,
Announced to each his station in the Past!
Was I, the world arraigned,
Were they, my soul disdained,
Right? Let age speak the truth and give us peace
at last!

Now, who shall arbitrate?
Ten men love what I hate,
Shun what I follow, slight what I receive;
Ten, who in ears and eyes
Match me: we all surmise,
They, this thing, and I, that: whom shall my
soul believe?

Not on the vulgar mass
Called 'work', must sentence pass,
Things done, that took the eye and had the price;
O'er which, from level stand,
The low world laid its hand,
Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice:

But all, the world's coarse thumb
And finger failed to plumb,
So passed in making up the main account;
All instinct immature,
All purposes unsure,
That weighed not as his work, yet swelled
the man's amount:

Thoughts hardly to be packed
Into a narrow act,
Fancies that broke through language and escaped;
All I could never be,
All, men ignored in me,
This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher
shaped.

Ay, note that Potter's wheel,
That metaphor! and feel
Why time spins fast, why passive lies our clay,—
Thou, to whom fools propound,
When the wine makes its round,
'Since life fleets, all is change; the Past gone, seize
to-day!'

Fool! All that is, at all,
Lasts ever, past recall;
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be:
Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay
endure.

He fixed thee mid this dance
Of plastic circumstance,
This Present, thou, forsooth, wouldst fain arrest:
Machinery just meant
To give thy souls its bent,
Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently impressed.

What though the earlier grooves
Which ran the laughing loves
Around thy base, no longer pause and press?
What though about thy rim,
Skull-things in order grim
Grow out, in graver mood, obey the sterner stress?

Look not thou down but up!
To uses of a cup,
The festal board, lamp's flash, and trumpet's peal,
The new wine's foaming flow,
The Master's lips a-glow!
Thou, heaven's consummate cup, what need'st
thou with earth's wheel?

But I need, now as then,
Thee, God, who mouldest men;
And since, not even while the whirl was worst,
Did I—to the wheel of life
With shapes and colours rife,
Bound dizzily,—mistake my end, to slake Thy thirst:

So, take and use Thy work,
Amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the
aim!
My times be in Thy hand!
Perfect the cup as planned!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete
the same!

I told you it was long!!

The best is yet to be.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Natalie said...

OH girl.. You had me at hello! I love poetry & that lines is one of my favorites. Such a sweet meaning & the fact you can trace it back to your mom is even sweeter.

August 28, 2010 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Angie said...

I've always loved your sign-off and love it even more now... thanks for sharing! :)

August 28, 2010 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Awesome poem!!


I have given you a blog award!! You can receive it at Mommy Only Has Two Hands!

August 28, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

That is an awesome poem! Cool that you shared your sign-off, I've always enjoyed seeing it at the end of your posts!

August 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

I liked that very much. The optimism in the sign off is great.

August 28, 2010 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger liz said...

i think that's a great motto for life!

August 29, 2010 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger The Empress said...

A wonderful poem, and yes, you have to worth through it and it's best read alone, with total quiet...but, still, if you can work your way through, it is timelessly written.

Thank you, it's good to share these special finds with more people, isn't it? You never know who you're going to touch with your words, and maybe change their day.

As you said, "what first began as fun is now a necessity." Same for me.

Nice to meet you!

August 29, 2010 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I've always really liked that quote and am now glad to know where you got it from! : )

August 29, 2010 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I loved your sign-off line the first time I read it. And I always wondered where it came from. Although long, I just read that poem twice. It made me happy :)

August 30, 2010 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger WTH am I Doing? said...

You are totally right about having to learn to live in the moment. I suck at that. But am getting better, especially as the kids get older. The little moments? Are really special. :)

August 31, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

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