On my last blog entry, I posted an inspirational poem called “Invictus”, by William Ernest Henley. Although I have always been positively impacted by this poem, I’ve never known about the man who wrote it or his inspiration.
In my mind, and as my previous post picture suggests, I have imagined a story about a Captain with his vessel – rocking back and forth upon an angry sea. In this terrible tempest, dark and ominous skies imply a foreboding fate.
Lightening flashes briefly illuminate the scene while monstrous waves crash against this tiny ship and the great sea waits to swallow it up.
But through hell and against all odds, this courageous Captain victoriously navigates a way through great peril – back to the safety of dry land. And there, with pen in hand, bravely records his experience.
But no, this is not how it happened…
Being curious to see how the story really went, I made a few Internet searches and found out that as a young teen, William contracted tuberculosis of the bone. This resulted in the amputation of one of his legs below the knee. Plans were being made to amputate the other. Luckily, this didn’t happen, a Doctor found a way to save it.
Then, while convalescing from this experience, this young man expressed the conviction of his soul through a poem entitled “Invictus.”
In the end, although these stories take place in two different settings, the character in them is one and the same. Under oppressive circumstances, each one is unwavering in their conviction. Each one demonstrates the courage of a lion. Each one has the strength of steel, and each one has the perseverance of a glacier.
Whatever storm in life you may weather, don the armor of courage, strength, faith and perseverance. For in the face of adversity, it is these qualities that make up an unconquerable soul.
Incidentally, as a side note, the author of Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson, made the confession to his real-life friend Henley, that the character of Long John Silver was completely inspired by him.