Whispering Eternity #63

Day 63.

Who decides a failure anyway? Did you know that the emperor Ferdinand told Mozart that “The Marriage of Figaro” was far too noisy and contained too many notes? Van Gogh, whose paintings now set records at auctions, only sold one painting while he was alive. Thomas Edison was considered un-teachable by his teachers. A teacher told Albert Einstein that he would never amount to much.

Have you ever heard of Dr Samuel Langley? I doubt it but Dr Langley in the late 1800s wrote extensively on the possibility of manned flight and was funded copiously by the American Government to produce an aero plane. After two disastrous public attempts, the second of which nearly cost him his life, the media so humiliated him over his failure that he gave up and retired. Not long after that, the Wright brothers, un-funded, peddled into history.

In the early 1800s R. H. Marcy at the age of 35 had engaged in 5 professions and seven failed businesses, but the 8th revolutionized the retail trade and invented the modern department store.

The one thing that is common through all these stories is that in the face of adversity, rejection, and failure these people continued to believe in themselves and refused to consider themselves failures. They saw failures as momentary events, not a lifelong epidemic. Read the Bible from cover to cover and you will find that God uses people who fail because “there ain’t any other kind around.” The Bible says, “Whatever a man thinks in his heart that is what he is.” That is why it is important to make sure that your thinking is on the right track.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”. That’s why it could also be said that life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.

Despite his enormous talent and fame Handel faced considerable adversity in His life. He faced fierce competition from the English composers. His audiences were fickle and didn’t always show up for his performances. He was the frequent victim of changing political winds. Several times he found himself penniless and on the verge of bankruptcy.

This pain of rejection and failure was so difficult for him to bear, especially following his previous success. Then failing health compounded his problems. He had a seizure and a stroke, which left his right arm limp, and he lost the use of four fingers on his right hand. Although he recovered, he was very despondent. In 1741 he retired at the age of 56. Discouraged and miserable, consumed by debt that he felt would land him in the debtor’s prison; on April 8 he gave his farewell concert. Disappointment had filled him with self-pity, and he gave up. But his greatest work was still undone!!

In August of that year a friend gave him a liberarto based on the life of Christ. Intrigued by this Handel was stirred into action. He began writing and the floodgates of inspiration were opened in him and the cycle of inactivity was broken. He worked for 21 days non-stop, then he spent two days creating the orchestration. At the end of 24 days, he had completed the 260 page manuscript of the “Messiah”. Today the Messiah is considered a masterpiece and the culmination of Handel’s work.

You see when it comes to getting over your emotional hurts it really doesn’t matter how good or how bad your personal history is. The only thing that matters is how you face your fear and get moving and learn the art moving forward. Have you noticed how when you trip you actually make progress at a greater rate, but that it can also be painful?

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