Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site https://familysearch.org This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
In 2010-2018 Iserved in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click https://www.comeuntochrist.org/

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Poem That Influenced My Life

You have probably had times when a certain song was stuck in your head for several days. In my case, it is a poem that I learned long ago. It talks about life and death, and may be associated with the recent death of my cousin Teddy Lidgett. 
When I was about 19 years old, I was riding back to Calgary from my parents’ home near Radium Hot Springs. The man I was riding with asked me if I was familiar with Longfellow’s Psalm of Life.
I had to confess that I was not, so he recited it from memory. It impressed me deeply.
A Psalm of Life, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882
Tell me not, in mournful numbers, “Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest," Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow, Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
 Learn to labor and to wait.
When I came across a religion that taught that we can continue to progress eternally, it struck a harmonious chord in my heart and mind.  Whether I can ever approach perfection, I will be a better person to the extent that I tried. A few years later, as a departing missionary, I quoted a few lines of this poem when bearing my testimony in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, in Salt Lake City.
I invite you to share this poem with your family members.

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