Thomas Wictor

Stand fast

Stand fast

“Stand fast!” was the war cry of Scottish troops. It means don’t give up. Don’t surrender. Be resolute. Be unyielding in your principles.

The more I see people compromise their morals and standards, the more determined I am to stand fast.

Someday I’ll write extensively about this period in my life. The temptation to give in to despair is overwhelming. It would be much easier to collapse and let myself be swept away in the river of bad news and nearly unendurable pain.

But I will stand fast.

I once read a quote that I was never able to find again. Some Scottish soldiers faced seemingly insurmountable odds, and their commander shouted, “Stand fast, lads! We’ll not leave this place alive, but we’ll give a good accounting of ourselves!”

Though I may not leave this place alive, my goal is to give a good accounting of myself. That’s all that matters.

The livid lightnings flashed in the clouds;
The leaden thunders crashed.
A worshipper raised his arm.
“Hearken! hearken! The voice of God!”

“Not so,” said a man.
“The voice of God whispers in the heart
So softly
That the soul pauses,
Making no noise,
And strives for these melodies,
Distant, sighing, like faintest breath,
And all the being is still to hear.”

—Stephen Crane

Even now I hear the voice of God.

I’ve always loved high-altitude clouds. When I was little, I thought I could walk on them. The peace and silence were what I craved. In the clouds everything would be soft, tranquil, and restorative. Cirrus clouds, they’re called. And contrails from jets spread out to form roads between them. A kid could spend his entire life up there, away from assaults, suffering, and the unreachable captor-hostages who inflict without thought or mercy.

When I became a man, I put away childish things.

—1 Corinthians 13:11

As a man I will stand fast and give a good accounting of myself.

But I still love my clouds. I strive for their melodies, and they whisper in my heart.

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