"Till All Success Be Nobleness" - Why America Will Stand
As I sat in church last Sunday singing "America the Beautiful" with others in the congregation - a particular phrase jumped off the page during the third verse - "Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine." As I pondered the possible interpretation of these nine words, a string of thoughts initiated resulting in a firm, hopeful realization - America will not fail.
Katharine Lee Bates, author of this great national hymn, understood America's potential. The words, "America, America, may God thy gold refine" precede the nine words referring to nobleness. God is not only required for success as individuals and citizenship in this country - but He is the refiner - who can lead us to become noble and receive gains that we would never experience on our own.
"Nobleness" refers to possessing or demonstrating refined personal qualities and high moral principles. Though a glance at headlines and media sound bites might leave us wondering if nobleness still exists - I promise you, it is alive and masterfully working in this country.
Here's the proof.
I spent four days last week immersed in the most important blessings of my life - God, family and country. In a small-town USA celebration, I stood for the U.S. flag and Star-Spangled Banner and clapped for parade floats while helping to gather thrown candy in the streets for my nieces. I prayed with family for blessings on food, safety during travel and gratitude for a new day. I went fishing, listened to family stories, and laughed while playing card games. And then I paused.
I paused because I recognized how grateful and richly fulfilled I became during this time. I wasn't on a red carpet or buying a new car or vacationing out-of-country. So, I observed and subsequently discovered evidence of nobleness all around me.
I saw it in the soldier carrying our nation's flag in the parade. I heard it in the stories of great- and great-great- grandparents who sacrificed comfort and fortune to extend compassion to not only their children but anyone in the community who needed help despite extreme hardship. I witnessed it in the military service of grandfathers and uncles and cousins and a father and brother who selflessly chose to fight for the freedoms of this land. I experienced it first-hand through a mom and aunt who quietly prepared feasts for the masses every day. And, in a poignant moment, I came to understand the culmination of a noble life in the examples of four of nine remaining siblings - whom I get to call Aunt Helen, Grandpa Wilkerson, Uncle Ralph, and Aunt Lucy.
As pictured above, these four brothers and sisters - ranging in age from 86-94 years are the epitome of why America still stands. Their lives - as so many countless others in all of our communities across this nation - have been built with words and actions of "high moral principles" and consistent dedication to doing good and being good. They've sacrificed and served and fought and loved and worked and then worked some more. Their lives have been unassuming, though brave. Their accomplishments have been mighty, though humble. Their greatest defense has been their faith in God, their greatest virtue - integrity. Their greatest treasures and joys lie in their relationships with others and posterity.
It is because of their examples and teaching and sharing that generations who follow can walk in those same noble footprints they've left us, with the same faith that guided their steps. Our successes can become noble as theirs have because we can become as loving and selfless and industrious and honest as they are. We must boldly walk in those footprints, because America can only be as noble as her people. It's up to you and it's up to me to choose.
Be noble. Be brave. And Shine On. -Kimberly
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.