Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: St. Thomas Aquinas

When all is said and done

When all is said and done
The remainder reaches
Into infinity with salutary
Airs of expectation
Soon to be proven false
Or true if that’s the way
You see it from your side

Yesterday I labored
Stretching time and cutting
Corners that wouldn’t
Matter in the end not really
No matter how exhausted
Or exuberant I was about
All I’d accomplished for now

Eager to welcome me home
The queen and king arrive
At my front door in the middle
Of the night to my consternation
They want to take me home
Despite my hard work left lying
In the dust heap of my efforts

When St. Thomas said all he
Ever wrote seemed like ashes
I thought he was out of his mind
Either that or he was finally
At peace with himself minus
All the ornamental pages
Hanging in his closet out of date
And out of time

The best things we’ve done in this life are often those we don’t remember. Being at peace with ourselves and those we love is, however, one of the best things we can do for ourselves in this life.

I pray this season of the year will find you at peace with yourself and with those you most love. No matter how much or how little you believe you’ve accomplished.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 December 2019
Book jacket photo found at

In this short life

Here’s another wise comment from Emily Dickinson, found in a volume of poetry for young people. I think it’s for us older folks, too. My comments follow.

In this short life
That only lasts an hour,
How much, how little,
Is within our power!

Emily Dickinson: Poetry for Young People
Edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin
Illustrated by Chi Chung
Sterling Publishing Co., 1994

Not much here for me to love. If life is short and only lasts an hour, and since I’m nearer the end of my hour than ever before, my time to make an impact has come and almost gone.

Or so it seems. How do we assess the impact of one human life?

It’s easy to understand the quandary Emily describes. I want to make an impact. I want to make things better. I want to do volumes of good. I want my life to count for something. I don’t want to do it all, have it all, climb every mountain or ford every stream. I just want to make a measurable difference. For good, of course.

Yet life as lived is almost unbearably repetitious and often filled with poor decisions.

Emily Dickinson spent most of her short, painfully private life taking care of others, enjoying nature, reading, scribbling words on paper, and stuffing them away unseen. Today they’re everywhere in collections and volumes. The gift of a short life now gifting us with insights into nature and human nature.

St. Thomas Aquinas suggests we can’t judge the power of one person’s life narrative at the time of his or her death. The full, true meaning of a human life can’t be known until it plays out in the lives of others. Thus our good looms longer and larger than our lives; so does our evil or neglect of the good. What we do and what we don’t do matters.

Emily’s words ring painfully true. We’re faced with an exasperating quandary. Each day the seconds tick away, presenting us with limited options, limited time and limited power.

Because of this, we can’t pronounce final judgment on ourselves, much less others. Not just judgment about the meaning of our lives, but about the meaning of any one day, hour or minute.

Instead, I choose to focus on loving God, loving myself, and loving my neighbors. Not just my next-door neighbors, but those who live on the other side of this globe or the other side of the road.

Further, I choose to do this as a woman loved in all my glory and ignominy by my Creator. Every second of every day. And yes, I still choose to make a difference for good. Even though that means making a difference for ill from time to time, regardless of my best intentions.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 12 June 2017
Image found at 

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Volume

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