In fiction there are stories about people who walk through grave yards. They’ll be on their own or with a companion. They’ll look at the weathered tombstones and the moss-ridden mausoleums and ask themselves:
What’s left when a person dies? Is it the memories of that person and what they did?
And after a pause in which they ponder an answer, they decide:
Yes. Yes it must be.
In a film there’d follow some sort of montage. Touching music plays, the sun sinking and the camera panning. Or maybe the director chooses a close-up. Our two companions make to hold hands in warming reassurance. In my case though? In real life. I simply smile knowing then that I’ve cracked a small code. I know this now for this is exactly what happened to me earlier this year.
Walking (quite carelessly as I like to), I found myself in Brompton cemetery. My thought process was the very same as the fictional one I mention.
This must be the human condition, I wondered.
And though pathetic fallacy was an ally to these deep thoughts (it was a ‘London’ sort of day. Heavy. The sky low and greyness looming), I continued to allow my train of thoughts to grow.
But what must you do to be remembered after death?
Hmm — I thought, peering through the humidity at old epitaphs — you have to be a doer. A go-getter.
But some people aren’t natural ‘doers’. They’re not lazy, but they aren’t simply motivated by the pursuit of money. Or of glory. Of frivolity in life. But they are thinkers. Does this make them motivated more by emotions then? By things that grow within their minds to give their life meaning, perhaps.
I wonder on my walk then, that I am one of them. And it was in this moment that I understood something important:
Receiving encouragement is my secret weapon.
Encouragement is one of the things that will push you to greatness before you go. And I reiterate; it really is. For me it’s a can o’ spinach. A blood booster. An A-symmetric sail.
To be encouraged is to feel awesome. It’s to become a ‘doer’. You’re an Eagle with a tailwind. You’re lifted by those you love and respect to do the things that give your existence meaning. So, you soar. It’s nature’s mainline into the emotional functions of the brain (the encouragement cortex – if it existed). So I ask you only to consider the effect encouragement can cause to a person. Give it some thought. Understand that you should never underestimate what the right winged words can do for another‘s state of being.
“I believe in you!”
“You’ve put so much work in. Don’t give up.”
“You’re doing amazing! I’m so proud of you.”
Keep going. Keep. Going.
Or, keep goin’, as I like to say and sometimes now write as well. Let me tell you – I kept on thinking as I perused that graveyard. And now those words have become my personal line of encouragement, for giving it out is just as gratifying as receiving it.
With these thoughts occurring to me again recently, I decided to go back to that cemetery. I’d ran by it on my way to Hyde Park and remembered what a quiet and lovely place it is. I sat there and I wrote this as our little secret. It’s a secret weapon I realised was made to encourage you and me. Know that with the right nod, we will all be Peregrines in the great blue sky. Encouragement is the elixir that gives life even in death.
Keep goin’, through all that is dark. When glumness comes and laziness overtakes. Through hours of toil. Embrace the blood. Embrace the sweat. Physical exertion is but a fleeting feeling. Your goals are just there.
Keep goin’, I tell you with gritted teeth. Our arms are strong. Our legs stronger. Weary minds cannot stop us. Ride your own song into the finest delights. A world awaits. It’s all yours.
Keep goin’, and know that I will hold your hand. An iron will and a kind heart you do possess. Your people are cheering for you. Do the thing you’ve always wanted. Do it. Do it! Grow old knowing you did it.
Keep goin’, and realise that when you’re gone you’ll still live. It is the memory of you that lasts among all those that you loved and loved you back. They love you now. They will remember you forever.
Keep goin’, and shake hands with the encouragement you have given and received. Live on and know that you did it. You. That unstoppable Hawk that kept on goin’.
~ Samuel Hodges, September 2021, London