Duty     by Ellen S. Hooper

I slept and dreamed that life was Beauty:
I woke and found that life was Duty:
Was then thy dream a shadowy lie?
Toil on, sad heart, courageously,
And thou shalt find thy dream to be
A noonday light and truth to thee.
This beautiful poem by Ellen S Hooper is one of the few poems I know by heart.
I have been focusing recently on the two parallels in the poem of Duty and Beauty and how our dreams of Beauty are often broken in the morning of our lives by the reality of Duty.
What is Duty in a life where Beauty is not present in our lives?
For me:-
It is remembered by doing the right thing, but being unhappy whilst doing it.
It is being miserable when disciplining the kids and controlling their quest to be individuals for the sake of the family honour and rigid expectations of how they will be expected to live their lives.
It was staying in a marriage without explaining my fundamental truth to the one whom I needed most as a soulmate and friend as well as a lover, for fear of losing her.
It is sticking at a job which was beyond my understanding, capacity and capability because my low self esteem told me that I would not be suited to any other job – nonsense!
It was being visible in the community as a man of hard work and faith, whilst neglecting the needs of my family however unintentionally.
It was neglecting the needs of myself, so that I often considered whether my life was worthwhile as it had become intolerable to live it.
So, what is Duty in a life where Beauty is present in our lives?
For me:-
It is living in the present and being curious about my thinking, my body, my spiritual life, my emotions and my relationships with all those whom I love and all those I come into contact with each day.
It is a life of accepting things as they are rather than how I expected them to be.
It is a life of speaking the truth courageously, whilst being able to accept the consequences without fear.
It is a life where responsibilities are undertaken with love, and at the same time being accessible and being prepared to listen as well as speak.
It is a life in which love is given unconditionally – in my case to my adult children whom I had risked losing  – accepting that their values are different to mine and no less valid for being so.
It is accepting that my life is shade and light, and that in the dark moments, the promise of the light is never dimmed so as to make my life always feel worthwhile.
It is a life punctuated with laughter, smiles, hugs and tears, amidst periods of restful calm for a time in each busy day.
My next blog will be: Readybrek – Central Heating for Kids
William Defoe



2 thoughts on “Duty

  1. Janeena Sims

    This is such wisdom. Beautiful teaching from someone who knows this not as theory but who has lived, and continues to live this, from the inside. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. williamdefoe274 Post author

      I’ve always thought that this poem was wanting me to replace duty with beauty – I have arrived on the inside, as you so eloquently put it dear Janeena, to understanding that both duty and beauty are essential for me to live my life in the present. Thank you William Defoe



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