…but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

“If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you…” I read the poem If by Rudyard Kipling as I lay in an emergency room, the doctor attending me having asked me to read it out loud. He had found it in the poetry book I had with me. It was 1965 and I was waiting to be transported to Essondale, the infamous mental hospital in British Columbia.

I was nineteen years old, experiencing psychosis. For the first time in my life I came to learn that for months – maybe years – I had been struggling with mental illness, an illness that for twenty years was to receive the incorrect diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Distraught, I yelled and screamed, not the quiet girl I normally was. But someone had given me an injection to help settle me down. And so, I was able to read these words: slowly, carefully. “…If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you”

The power and reassurance came home, telling me that there was hope. Even here. Hope in this life for me.

Although the poem was powerful and helpful, I came to find something even better twenty years later. It was then that I discovered God and learned the incredible hope I could find in him. In the meantime, though, Kipling’s words inspired me and gave me strength. I’ve read it many times throughout my life. Even now, the poem does wonders for me.

Imagine yourself in crisis, having a kind doctor asking you to read – to slowly read – the encouraging words.

Will it do the same for you as it did for me?

Check out the following link to get to the poem. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if—