After thoroughly enjoying David Copperfield (Dickens) this past year, I decided to try A Tale of Two Cities using dailylit.com. A small portion of the book is sent daily by email. Their program works well if you want to chip away at a book you might not have read otherwise. While any Dickens novel is worth reading, my want-to-read-book-stack is large, and it takes quite some time to make it through larger volumes. This was a great opportunity to add in a classic book without taking time away from my other reading, even if it will take months for me to finish A Tale of Two Cities.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Waste forces within him, and a desert all around, this man stood still on his way across a silent terrace, and saw for a moment, lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honourable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance. In the fair city of this vision, there were airy galleries from which the loves and graces looked upon him, gardens in which the fruits of life hung ripening, waters of Hope that sparkled in his sight. A moment, and it was gone. Climbing to a high chamber in a well of houses, he threw himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears.
Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.
This passage spoke such truths to me as I look around at today's society. How many people are looking upon 'a mirage of honourable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance' without realizing that life is a series of choices that we make for ourselves, instead playing the blame and excuses game? There are so many things beyond our control, but the way one reacts to those things is a choice. I am sure there are many times that I make the wrong choice. That I may respond with the choice of honourable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance is my great hope.