Saturday, April 05, 2008

In memoriam of G.L. Mershimer

Today is the anniversary of my father’s death, and in honor of a great man, I offer this poem. It distills the virtues that dad tried to instill. He loved this poem, and for good reason: it contains the essence of bracing, manly character – truths of personhood that truly caring fathers and mothers would love to have reflected in their sons… and yet lost seemingly lost virtues in a postmodern age of victims and identity politics.

Here’s the classic poem by Rudyard Kipling, in honor of G.L. Mershimer:


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And – which is more – you'll be a Man my son!

Thanks, Dad!

I can still hear your words, “Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run!”




Anonymous said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you. I thank God for the mark your dad made on my life, and the life of so many. I didn't realize today was the anniversary, and I will make sure to say something to your mom.
Trying to keep the peace in Josephine!
Stephen Miller

Loy said...


Great to hear from you, brother. I'm in admiration of the awesome work you are doing in Josephine -- I hear through the grapevine, some of the challenges and victories, and am deeply impressed... and grateful!

Thank you so much for your ministry to the people there, and to my mother. Anything I can ever do to help, I'm in your corner...

God bless and have a wonderful evening!


Jamie said...


Your dad must have been a great man to help raise the caliber of men that you, Gerald and Layne turned out to be. I hope your wonderful memories and the fact that your dad is in heaven give you a special comfort.

Loy said...

Thank you so much, Jamie -- I appreciate those words of comfort and affirmation; and, indeed dad was wonderful...

No human is perfect, but he was so consistent in wanting one thing: his children to know and follow God. There were hard times, for sure, but we never ever doubted where the true answers lay. Mom and dad did their best, in all the cross-currents of life and religious culture, to point us to God. And in the end, that is what remains!

It's funny how the eternal things endure with time, and the lesser things just fade away. Grace in human time!


Thanks again, and God bless!

Toots said...

It was nice to meet your brother and family at Jessica's wedding. My brother, Keith Bailey, remembers your family coming some to the camp we attended in Roxbury, PA years ago. He also recorded Gerald(in a quartet)in the Take One studio back some years ago. Maybe you too? Interestingly, IF is my father's favorite poem too.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Sorry you couldn't make the wedding but certainly understand you're a long way from PA now!
I enjoy your pictures and inspirational posts.

AP said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful insight into your relationship with your father. What a testimony!
Had a great visit with Aunt V today... God's grace is still being poured out in deep ways.

We are on our way west. Keep us in your prayers

Loy said...


Thinking and praying for you, bro. Go with God!!

And Laura,

Thanks so much for the encouragement, and God bless you! I do remember your brother -- he always impressed me. I didn't know him well, but he just struck me as a serious-minded high quality individual, with a quiet sense of humor and quick wit.