The Thought for the Day – Robertson Davies

Age, linked with achievement, was a splendid crown to life, and took the sting from death. – Robertson Davies, The Lyre of Orpheus


Robertson Davies was a Canadian writer and newspaper executive, spending most of his life in southern Ontario. He remains one Canada’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful authors and The Lyre of Orpheus is a funny and thoughtful book about a group that finds themselves heading up a foundation and must decide which artistic outlets deserve their money, eventually settling on an opera.

Achievement can be anything of substance. It is not merely fame and fortune, though a lot of resources are committed to making us think it is. Nothing is further from the truth.   

Living a life of substance and achievement requires some effort, but not as much as you might think. In fact, we’ve always felt a good life is there for the taking. Yes, you must put some thought into it because you are not going to accomplish what you do not set out to do. You must recognize your talents and ambitions and use them to form a plan for your life. Then you need the modest amount of courage required to go and get that life. Then you need the patience to see your path through to your desired end.

It doesn’t matter what that desired end is. All that is required is that it is something you are moved to do from inside. It can be the result of an all-consuming, ruling passion, or it could merely be the result of not wanting to squander your time on this planet. It can be anything from a challenging and satisfying working life to making an award-winning quilt to winning an Olympic medal.

…a splendid crown to life, and took the sting from death.

We’re all going to die. When that time comes, we will be presented with the opportunity to look back on our lives and we will probably ask ourselves one question: did we do well, or did we mark time? Did we make our time serve us, or did we serve a sentence while on this planet? Those who make their time serve them, those who had a plan for their lives and spent their time executing that plan, will know they did their work well, a splendid crown to our time on this planet.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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