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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On Sunday evening, I read a play by A.A. Milne [most notably known for writing Winnie the Pooh] called Success. I keep thinking about it.

The narrative questions the meaning of success by highlighting the life of a seemingly very successful man. R. Selby Mannock has it all: an excellent career, wealth, a handsome wife, daughters who have married well, power, fame, respect, and surely a future that will bring only more success.

But then Mannock encounters a childhood friend whose life contrasts sharply with his own. This second man doesn't have all the nice things: he doesn't have riches, fame, or power; he has to work hard for a living; his only son died in the war. He lives an ordinary life.

This childhood friend, however, has something Mannock does not. He does what he truly loves. He is married to the woman he truly loves. He sacrificed for the country he truly loves. He lives with satisfaction and he lives with the hope of heavenly reunions.

So who is successful? The man who pursued it and found "it closes in on you"? (p.61). Or the man who lived a hard life, but one full of love?

I don't want to live a life in which I find myself saying, "I've thrown them away--all the lovely things of life, all the precious things. I've thrown them away--for nothing" (p.61).

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