W.E. Henley (1849-1903)
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Being Captain of my soul is a funny thing. For so long, all that I did was looking to the captain that was God, who set the rules and guided me. But now it is me on my own, no outside forces to assist or advise, no book to turn to in trouble to look for inspiration and life plans.
Just me and the collective wisdom of others, that I can take or reject as I see fit.
A scary responsibility, far more challenging than anything else I have faced.
Because I am master of my fate. I no longer have a divine practical joker, as sometimes god appeared to me to be, "stirring" the pot. "It's God's pudding, and he's doing the stirring" someone once said to me, when I was in the darkness of despair about why god would not answer me.
But now it is different.
I no longer see a future in which my fate is decided by a god, who at times had appeared unkind, unloving, harsh and punishing. The emptiness of the sky is a loss to me still, but it is a loss of things that are negative as well as positive.
So I face the future, that I know one day will end, in the knowledge that it is up to me to mould it, to face it, to live it, to experience it and if it is not good, then I have no one to blame but myself.
And that is very liberating.
For those who believe, that must sound like blasphemy..and I'm sorry if that is how it seems. But I can only speak what is in my heart and hope that you realise that it is still me here, the friend you once made, and I hope in reading what I have written, you will not judge but try to understand where I am and where I am going.
*hugs* to you my friends...who have tried so hard with me to no avail.
I wish I could please you by believing again and it would be so easy to pretend.
But that I cannot.
So here I am, the captain of my soul, facing the world bloody but unbowed. Whatever the future may bring, I accept that it is my task to go with it, to ride the storms out, to run and laugh in the rain and to embrace the life that I have with all of my being.
So that when I face my death, I can truly say:
"Because I have loved life
I shall have no sorrow to die."