An article written by my father, the Rev. C. Thomas Paige, as it appeared in the Tri-State Defender on the date shown.
“I am come that they might have life and have life more abundantly.” – Jesus
This week I was in conference with one of the officials of education of this city. We talked about many things. During the conversation, he made this pregnant statement: “They have had too many failures already. They need some successes now!” He was holding reference to some of the students in our public schools today. Whereas his conversation was limited to these children, I wonder if not all of us encounter too many defeats as we strive to live in the world today.
On second thought, in light of our religion, are not these defeats blessings in disguise? History is filled with instances of men who have encountered defeats only to rise up and go on to greater heights. Of course, this is true of we have in ourselves that which will enable us to go on to greater heights.
Defeats can be beneficial if within ourselves we can gather up the debris of our broken dreams and move on up the ladder. Defeats are meaningful to those of us who are so fortified that we can keep on going on. The tragic thing about defeat is wrapped up in the fact that far too many people lack the stamina to rise up from the dust, shake themselves clean, and go on living.
Human beings of today are very much akin to the people of Jesus’ day. There are those among us who are unable — under their own power — to keep on going on. It is at this point that those of us who are strong must step in and give new values and new directions to the lives of those who are weakest among us.
At all points in our lives we come in contact with challenges. Daily we are confronted with opportunities to make our real selves felt. Our real selves will be meaningful if we are, in the the first place, fortified to the point that we are unable to be dragged down. With all of the complexities in our lives, our greatest challenge is to be strong.
Jesus exhibited a spirit needed for His day. He stated His mission as one of making life more meaningful for those with whom He came in contact. It is at this point that each of us should do all that we can to make the lives of those with whom we have daily contact more wholesome.
Nothing short of this will ever justify our being here. Yes, in the words of this great educator, countless people in our community and in communities throughout the world have had far too many defeats. There must be in all of our lives today a strength that will enable us to give strength to those people who are dead and light to those who live in darkness.
Not only is it true that many live in darkness and in moments of weakness but it is also true that apprehensions, doubts, and countless other forces keep them from living life at it fullest. There is something in the beast of each person that makes him want to be somebody. The failure to be somebody is the most distracting force facing individuals today. It is that force which impedes growth toward morality. This is the thinking behind the utterances of Jesus and must motivate our thinking.
Yes, it is almost normal that countless defeats are a part of this life. By the same token, there must be countless resurrections that will enable us to soar above our defeats. Sometimes we find these within ourselves and other time we have to look to others for this strength. It is at this point that our lives become meaningful.
Whatever our state in live, our strength must be of such nature that we will make this world a better place in which to live. We must be able to reach down beyond ourselves and give new hope to those who are faltering through this life.