Your Mission

by Ellen M.H. Gates

If you cannot on the ocean sail
among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows,
Laughing at the storms you meet;

You can stand among the sailors,
Anchored yet within the bay,
You can lend a hand to help them
As they launch their boats away.

If you are too weak to journey
Up the mountain, steep and high,
You can stand within the valley
While the multitudes go by;

You can chant in happy measure
As they slowly pass along--
Though they may forget the singer,
They will not forget the song.

If you cannot in the harvest
Garner up the richest sheaves,
Many a grain, both ripe and golden,
Oft the careless reaper leaves;

Go and glean among the briars
Growing rank against the wall,
For it may be that their shadow
Hides the heaviest grain of all.

If you cannot in the conflict
Prove yourself a soldier true;
If, where fire and smoke are thickest,
There's no work for you to do;

When the battle field is silent,
You can go with careful tread;
You can bear away the wounded,
You can cover up the dead.

Do not then stand idly waiting
For some greater work to do;
Fortune is a lazy goddess,
She will never come to you;

Go and toil in any vineyard,
Do not fear to do and dare.
If you want a field of labor
You can find it anywhere.

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