My song today is ‘Beware My Foolish Heart’. This is a popular song and jazz standard which was first recorded in 1949; seven years after I was born. The music was composed by Victor Young, and the lyric was written by Ned Washington. The song was introduced by the singer Martha Mears in the 1949 film of the same name. The song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song’ in 1949 but lost out to ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’.
Even the wisest among us can become the most foolish when it love rears its head, but none among us should become foolish when it comes to living one’s life. Do not ever take your life for granted for it can change in the blink of the eye. All those people in the world who died yesterday had plans for this morning, and all those people who will die today will have had plans for tonight. Each of us will go farther in life when we travel with hope, confidence, and trust in ourselves and others. However strong we think ourselves to be, we can be much stronger than we are the very first moment we realise that we do not stand alone, or ever need to. Whereas stoicism teaches one the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions, allowing oneself to become vulnerable is endowed with far more strength of character than is usually imagined to be the case.
For most of my adult life, I have been my own person and as independent as they come. I had lived 35 years before I realised that I could also benefit from receiving the support of others as well as giving support to others. All my life I have believed that it is only through the act of giving that one truly receives, but I had reached my mid-thirties before it dawned on me that ‘I also had to be willing to receive’ to obtain the maximum benefit of the love bestowed by others on me.
Indeed, it is only in the autumn of my life, and my experience with living with three different cancers over the past decade, and the numerous operations and medical treatments I have needed just to stay alive, that I have personally witnessed how much others can help me, even at a distance, simply by knowing that they are there for me in prayer and thought, as well as concrete action.
I recently read about the folly of being too proud to accept the help offered by well-intentioned others, by politely declining, or indicating that you were well able to manage alone. If we allow our pride to keep pushing away people who care about us, the day will arrive when they do not come back. Too many people just do not realise how much others do for them until they stop doing it!
I tell you truly that it has not only been the support of my loving wife and family who have kept me going over the past ten years when I came close to death several times, but it is the power of good people’s prayer from across the world why I am still singing my daily song. I have had people in their hundreds, keep me in their daily prayers, light candles in my name, and even offer up Masses on my behalf. Most of these people I know only through Facebook friendship, and very few who I have met in the flesh or am ever likely to meet face-to-face. Yet, these people are real and important people to me in every sense; much more than they will probably ever fully appreciate.
They have acted as my moral anchor and support and bedrock at the most difficult of moments I have had to endure. They have made me feel to be more loved than any man has a right to feel loved, and while it is to God, whom I owe my continued life, it is to my wife Sheila, my children, my siblings, and family to whom I owe my quality of life and my reason for living on. However, it is through these countless others, and through the power of their prayer combined with the power of their unqualified love that I might even owe my eternal salvation. I sincerely thank every one of these people mentioned. You have willingly taken me to your hearts and have given me yours, and there is nothing foolish about hundreds of hearts that beat as one.
Love and peace