Helen Steiner Rice was born in 1900 and grew up on the shores of Lake Erie. Her dream was to study law, but her plans to attend Wesleyan College had to be set aside when her father died during the influenza epidemic of 1918. Instead, she ended up taking a job with an electrical utility company.
In 1928, Helen met a young banker named Franklin Rice. Soon they were married. But their happiness was short -lived. In the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, Franklin committed suicide.
Helen went back to work, this time taking a job editing greeting cards. For twenty years she worked in the industry, with some of her poems being published by the Gibson Card Company. And she worked and maintained a grateful attitude despite suffering a painful degenerative disease.
Then one day one of her cards was read on The Lawrence Welk Show, and her life suddenly changed. People clamoured for her poetry. Since then, people have bought more than seven million books of her writing.
She died in 1981, but one of the poems she published before her death describes a discovery she made when facing dark times. The poem is called “The Bend in the Road”, and it ends this way:
And together we stand at life’s crossroads
And view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision
And He tells us it’s only a bend.
For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the pause in the song is a rest.
And the part that’s unsung and unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger.
Let go and let God share your load,
Your work is not finished or ended,
You’ve just come to a bend in the road.
©1965 The Helen Steiner Rice Foundation – All Rights Reserved.
If you can maintain that perspective, you can overcome discouragement and move beyond it. No one need be held captive to it. Embrace the difference maker and it will make the difference in you.
Excerpt from: John Maxwell’s The Difference Maker.
One major thing that strikes me about this poem written by Helen is the fact that the end we perceive in mind isn’t actually the end but simply a bend. Really, when we picture a bend we know that it takes a long while to turn round it than it is when the path is straight.
A bend could even mean you can’t see what lies ahead and there’s such huge confusion in your heart. It could also mean, you’ve gotten frustrated of life and can’t bear the load all by yourself. That bend could also connote how much limitations and rejections you’ve encountered that the next best thing is to stop attempting altogether.
It could mean, you’re just tired of the disease you have and need a break as bad as death. The one word of assurance I have for myself and you today is after the dark night comes the beautiful morn. God is there to take your burdens, turn it over.
Don’t dare to give in. I won’t either. Keep living strong.