His name was Samuel. All he wanted was to be a painter. He actually managed by midlife to accomplish that dream, and, for a short time, he was able to make a living at it. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t last. For us today, that’s a very good thing.
During his lifetime, it was difficult to make a living as an artist in America. If that wasn’t enough, crises hit. His wife died; then his mother and father also died soon after. Filled with grief, he headed off to Europe to paint and reflect on life.
On his return trip home, while aboard ship, he found himself discussing new experiments in electromagnetism. Apparently, as the story goes, Sam made the following comment, “If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted by electricity.” His creative mind still spinning, he returned to his room determined to solve this new equation. But he didn’t. He later wrote:
“The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: ‘If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?’ Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence.”
In 1843 he approached Congress—one last time. He had done this more than once, and each time they had ontinuously called his ideas ridiculous. However, on the last night of the Congressional session, Samuel B. Morse made one final attempt. Then, he went to bed, tired and disgusted. In the morning, however, he was told that a few minutes before midnight Congress had awarded him $30,000 to construct a telegraphic line between Baltimore and Washington!
Within a year the line was established, and Morse received the amazing honor of tapping out the first message by telegraph. But what message would he send? After some thought, he chose an Old Testament passage found in Numbers 23:23 of the Bible: “What hath God wrought!” To him, it said it all.
– Had his wife and parents not died,
– Had he not gone to Europe,
– Had his artistic dreams succeeded as he’d dreamed and planned,
the world would never have experienced the telegraph.
Perhaps you’re experiencing setbacks and disappointments. Maybe your projects are lacking funding. Will you, as did Morse, “…wait patiently for the direction of Providence”?
Morse went on to create several other inventions and is often recognized today as the father of faxes, modems, e-mail, the internet and other electronic communication. All I can say is, “Wow.”
It seems worth asking the question: should we allow the interruptions and discouraging moments to get the best of us? It is possible, that perhaps, in them alone, lies the spark that will light the fire for the best that is truly yet to come.
Just my thoughts.