1.26.2021 – there is nothing more

there is nothing more
draining, exhausting than hate
meannesses of life

I came across a biography of Winston Churchill by Mr. Paul Johnson.

A small quick overview of Mr. Churchill’s life but Mr. Johnson included an epilogue with 5 lessons that he segued into saying, ” Winston Churchill led a full life, and few people are ever likely to equal it – its amplitude, variety, and success on so many fronts. But all can learn from it, especially in five ways.”

“The first lesson is: always aim high.”

“Lesson number two is: there is no substitute for hard work.”

“Third, and in its way most important, Churchill never allowed mistakes, disaster—personal or national—accidents, illnesses, unpopularity, and criticism to get him down.”

It the fourth lesson I want to focus on.

Mr. Johnson wrote:

“Fourth, Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meannesses of life: recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges, waging vendettas.

Having fought hard, he washed his hands and went on to the next contest.

It is one reason for his success.

There is nothing more draining and exhausting than hatred.

And malice is bad for the judgment.

Churchill loved to forgive and make up.

His treatment of Baldwin and Chamberlain after he became prime minister is an object lesson in sublime magnanimity.

Nothing gave him more pleasure than to replace enmity with friendship, not least with the Germans.”

Let me go over that first line again.

“Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meannesses of life:

recrimination,

shifting the blame onto others,

malice,

revenge seeking,

dirty tricks,

spreading rumors,

harboring grudges,

waging vendettas.

Some one could take that sentence and easily turn it into a list of charges against the current time.

I don’t expect there are more Churchill’s around as much I don’t expect anymore Lincoln’s or Washington’s or Groucho Marx’s.

BUT GOOD NIGHT MOON, isn’t there anyone anybody that even aspires to this outlook in public life anymore?

God help us all.

One last bit on Churchill though I may have told this story before.

Mr. Churchill’s public image is one of a gruff, grumbling crusty old man.

A curmudgeon.

Yet if you read the book that written by his official biographer ABOUT writing the 9 volume official biography, that was not the impression either he ( Martin Gilbert ) got or the impression he got from those who worked closest and knew him best.

They all swear Mr. Curchill was fun and fun filled.

In fact the fifth lesson Mr. Johnson lists is “Finally, the absence of hatred left plenty of room for joy in Churchill’s life.”

There is much talk in the Churchill historiography about Mr. Churchill’s “Black Dog” and dealing with depression.

Mr. Gilbert’s research shows that Having a Black Dog or a Black Dog Day or Kicking the Black Dog was a common saying among British Nannies of the Victorian Period.

Can’t you just hear Mary Poppins saying, “Having a bit of a black dog day are we?”

Mr. Gilbert says he truly can only find one occasion where Mr. Churchill used the term, My Black Dog and Mr. Gilbert says it caught fire and started a whole school of interpretation of Mr. Churchill’s life as a Functioning Manic Depressive all authored by a bunch of people whose education missed the lecture on Words of the Victorian Nursery.

Mr. Gilbert tells this story in his book, “In Search of Churchill.

Mr. Gilbert says that perhaps the most famous photo of Churchill was taken in Ottawa, Canada by Yousuf Karsh.

Mr. Gilbert thought it was a photo of grumbling crusty old man.

Mr. Gilbert also says that it was man he did not recognize.

Mr. Gilbert also knew of a less famous photograph that had been taken just a minute earlier.

This was the man Mr. Gilbert knew.

Years later, Mr. Gillber met Mr. Karsh and Mr. Gilbert asked how did he achieve such a quick change of expression and temperament?

“I took away his cigar,” said, Mr. Karsh.

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