16 August 2013

A Heap of Unfulfilled Ambitions

Richard King (pseudonym of Richard King Huskinson, 1879-1947), With Silent Friends (London: Bodley Head, 1917), pp. 106-107:
What a sad story it would make were we all to keep a diary, on one side of which we wrote what we intended doing, and upon the other what we actually did. Most of us set forth when we are young with the enthusiasm to remove mountains. Alas! as we look back on our lives, we realise only too clearly that the most we ever did was to kick over a molehill. It is all heartrendingly disappointing. There seems to be something in Destiny — or does it lie within our own natures? — which comes between us and all our glorious aims, leaving us nothing but a heap of unfulfilled ambitions at the end. So few of us can go straight ahead along the pathway which we feel our lives ought to lead ; we are always being turned from our intentions by other people, or by love, or by pity, or by hatred, or by loss of money or health. Thus, most of us become mere thistledown, blown hither and thither in the wind, to settle at last on a desolate sand dune. And we feel that we ought to have been such rockets! Each one of us feels he ought to have been a rocket. So often disappointment makes us bitter, or hard, or merely callous. Our bad intentions go as a rule unpunished; just as our good ones usually go without reward. This lack of Justice in life is one of life's greatest mysteries. It even puzzles those who believe in God. We are always finding excuses or reasons for acts of Providence which, to our own inner conscience, are the reverse of what is Just and Right. But Providence is never shamed. It still goes on gaily, allowing the square peg to die in the round hole, the innocent to suffer for the guilty, the good for the bad, the weak for the strong, those of good intentions for those who never had any at all.