My husband and I were sharing time with his brother at our home this past weekend, reminiscing old beliefs and sharing new philosophies. During the conversation, they reminded me of a poem titled “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” by Rudyard Kipling in comparison to the crisis humankind is facing today.
In the poem, Kipling’s narrator counterposes the “Gods” of the title, who embody “age-old, unfashionable wisdom,” against “the Gods of the Market-Place” who represent the “habits of wishful thinking” into which society had fallen in the early 20th century.
The “copybook headings” to which the title refers were proverbs or maxims, often drawn from sermons and scripture extolling virtue and wisdom, that were printed at the top of the pages of copybooks, special notebooks used by 19th-century British school-children. The students had to copy the maxims repeatedly, by hand, down the page. The exercise was thought to serve simultaneously as a form of moral education and penmanship practice.Wikipedia
As they were speaking, my mind wandered off… Memoirs of having to memorize (as a youth) chapter titles in the bible, scripture, the ten commandments and then it went to thoughts of Moses, and how… after all the Israelites had witnessed during their enslavement and then escape from Pharaoh, they still chose to worship all that glittered and not abide by the ten commandments as God asked them to. The Israelites did not have patience for the truth that Moses brought as is the example of Mankind in Kipling’s poem as it is also with our “fast food mentality” (wanting something right away while losing the true meaning of patience) today. “As you’d have done unto you” has become lost to the golden rule.
The ending to both stories is different though… The God’s in Kipling’s poem lose hope in Mankind and rightfully so? We seemingly circle again and again and again, repeating the patterns of INHUMANITY, forgoing kindness and compassion for righteous knee jerk arguments and apathy for the damage we cause to others. Good news? Many of us still have HOPE, “frail” as it is, that miracles are about to become prevalent (if they aren’t already) and undeniably from the God of Moses.
On September 12th, I witnessed so many longing for the time when all worked together to assist those devastated by the September 11th attack on the United States. Locally, with the fires burning in the west, total strangers going out of their way to feed, house their neighbor and save livestock that had gotten loose. Color, race, creed, virus, political affiliation, FEAR… DID NOT MATTER. We put our egos aside and focused on what truly matters. EVERYONE HAS THIS CAPACITY because GOD PUT IT IN EACH OF US. I, for one, will not lose faith in humanity because whom I look too is much greater than anything that can be encountered here. I believe that many more will rise up to this present day dilemma and serve each other.