Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Our Hearts Are Muffled Drums

ScotlandWilliam C. Doren and Janice Waller McKinney died yesterday. I don’t know those two people, I only know they were part of the approximately 6,700 people in the United States and 155,000 people world-wide, whose lives came to a close yesterday–along with Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.  

The inevitability of that event for all of us reinforces the lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, The Psalm of Life.  This is the portion I thought about today:


    …Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

There are many things about life and death that we can’t choose. However, we can choose whether our march is purposeful and cheerful or indecisive and sluggish–and whether we are still achieving and pursuing or still dragging our feet and complaining, right up to the end of the journey in this earthly life. What tempo is the beat of your muffled drum?

June 26th, 2009 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 7 comments


  1. Well said! Also good photo.

    Comment by Shawn | June 27, 2009

  2. I was wondering if you would write about his death and here it was! I really like that line about muffled drums. I didn’t like most of Michael Jackson’s style but I was shocked to hear about his death. I sure will be interested in the results of the investigation.
    I’m switching to nights for the summer so I’ll be reading in the evenings instead of morning from now on. I think I’m the first person to see most of your posts. I’m special! 🙂

    Comment by denisek | June 27, 2009

  3. Dear Tina,
    I got goosebumps from reading that poem! I looked it up and read the rest of it and printed it as a reminder. As you know, my family has had its share of illnesses and death the last five years and I’m more aware of mortality than I ever was before. I wanted you to know that your post really helped, because I know my parents were happy through the end. Love, R.

    Comment by R. E.W. | June 27, 2009

  4. Tina says: Thanks to the three of you for your comments.

    Shawn, I thought that photo was evocative of the mood. It’s a country road in Scotland. It’s nice to hear from you again!

    Denise, good luck with your summer schedule. Yes, you ARE special, aren’t you? And so humble.

    R.E.W., I’m glad you liked the poem. I never met your parents, but everything you said about them led me to believe they were the examples that helped make you the wonderful person you are. Their hearts beat in yours, just as yours beats in the hearts of your children, and so it goes. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    Comment by TLR | June 27, 2009

  5. […] in this blog, had some interesting thoughts on her own blog. You can see for yourself right here.  For those of you who can handle the Spanish, Lucas Leys dealt with precisely the same theme on […]

    Pingback by Jeff Adams » MJ, K of P - Update | June 27, 2009

  6. Your words are poignant reminders of how brief this life is and how few our opportunities to leave footprints for others. Doubly blessed are those who lead followers to the Footprints of the One who can provide eternal life in a home far better than Neverland.

    As always, Tina, I appreciate your depth of thought on issues such as this. Blessings to you and yours. Don R.

    Comment by Don R. | June 27, 2009

  7. Tina says: Thanks Jeff, for the link on your blog. Your post was very thought provoking, but I decided not to comment so people don’t get tired of seeing my name.

    Don, I’ve missed you! This is a personal and professional development site so I keep my remarks focused on that. But, your words reflecting your spiritual faith are always welcome here.

    Comment by TLR | June 27, 2009

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