How Did You Die?
by Edmund Vance Cooke
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that!
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there--that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
It's how did you fight--and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
I am realizing as I write this blog day by day, that much of my attitude about suffering and having a positive attitude came from roots deep in my childhood and even before I was born. This poem was one my dad and his brother memorized when they were young and they still quote it to this day! I grew up hearing the words every time something was difficult. I remember wanting to be the kind of person that was exalted in this poem. I wanted to be brave. I didn't know then what exactly I would be called upon to be brave against. But now in coming back around to those desires I am encouraged that God is giving me the strength day by day - and I can only pray that I keep my eyes on Him until I die.