Our lives are works of art, but we are not the artist. That is a hard truth to accept, and I suppose some never do. I remember a poem I memorized as a kid that says:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I loved the attitude of that poem when I was a kid, but life relentlessly taught me that I am neither the master of my fate nor the captain of my soul. Perhaps the poet William Ernest Henley, who wrote “Invictus” in 1888, discovered this truth as well. He became an alcoholic and died of tuberculous at the age of 53.

A pearl is a work of art, but it is not the artist. A pearl is the tears generated when something causes an oyster pain. The word “diamond” comes from the Greek “adamas,” which means “unbreakable,” but that unbreakable work of art didn’t create itself. It is the product of centuries of intense pressure buried beneath the surface of the earth. Pain and pressure are the artists that create jewels out of our lives … IF we will let them.




Rev. Michael Piazza