Thursday, August 16, 2007

The World is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth

The World is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
--William Wordsworth

In his talk, "What’s in It for Me?" President Faust said, "I have learned that selfishness has more to do with how we feel about our possessions than how much we have. The poet Wordsworth said, “The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” A poor man can be selfish and a rich man generous, but a person obsessed only with getting will have a hard time finding peace in this life."

I think that this goes right along with things I've heard recently about tithing (for instance, see my brother Doug's Blog). When it comes right down to it, happy people are those that figure out what it is that they really want, and then figure out how to actually go about getting whatever it is. A friend recently helped me see that though I haven't had what I really want for the past several years (a happy family with children), I have been making the decisions that would lead me there in the long term. I could have gotten married to any number of people over the years, but I knew deep down that it had to be the right guy if I wanted to be happy. Once I was married, I could have quit my job right away to start having kids, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if we didn't have insurance coverage before I got pregnant. Once Peter got hired full time, I felt strongly that we ought to follow the Prophet's council and get out of debt. I probably stayed too long at my job trying to take care of that, but when I finally did quit, the Lord blessed us with was to not only clear the debt, but save up for a down payment on a house even though I wasn't working full time. Once I quit, I could have gotten pregnant immediately, but I knew that if we wanted to be a happy family, I had to be healthy, so I took the time to get stabilized on medications, then safely get off them again. I'm now about halfway through my pregnancy, I have a house, an excellent doctor, a loving husband, and a part time job that lets me contribute significantly to the rent working a couple of hours a day on my own computer. I'm in a position to be useful to my grandparents, and therefore the whole family. I can honestly say I'm happy, and really, except for the times that I've been clinically depressed (and occasionally even then), I have been for years, doing the things that would lead me to where I really wanted to be the whole time.


  1. Who could ask anything more from a person? I've been struggling for a week or two with not feeling good enough. Your perspective helped me a lot. Thanks Karen. I love you. H

  2. Wonderful! I'm so glad things are going well. I'm excited for you. :)