Nothing exempts us from life
Highlands TodayIf any hurt, we all suffer. That no government, religion, group, or individual has created Utopia is no excuse to give up. Neither prosperity nor poverty, health nor disease, joy nor grief, exempts us from life. We can either wallow or war. More wallowers than warriors equals disaster.
Published: February 18, 2010
Published: February 18, 2010
"I do not love Congress ... the people's business is not getting done," says Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind). His joining the recent bevy of exiting politicians won't help. Sarah Palin pulled the same card when she resigned as Alaska's governor. At least Bayh is finishing his term. Perhaps he pouts because he was overlooked twice as a vice-presidential candidate. Or perhaps, like Palin, he eyes bigger things. Either way, a lot of money, time, and effort placed these people where they said they wanted to be.
Wallowing paralyzes; war energizes. We don't refer to "the wallowing on drugs" or "the wallowing on poverty," but "the war." War's effectiveness depends on knowing what we are "for," not just what we are against, what we are willing to do with our lives. Doing nothing is impossible. Nothing is something.
The 2008, seven-part miniseries, "John Adams," featured our founding fathers' debates and speeches in the Continental Congress. Good people held opposite opinions, fought valiantly for them, and still united for the greater cause. One reviewer wrote: "It has been said that this country succeeded because our greatest citizens were around during its birth and infancy." If that assessment is true, they rose above us only by rising above themselves to seek the good of all.
In a 2009 speech Bill Gates' theme was: politically correct teachings create reality-deniers and set them up for real-world failures. Let us remember that political correctness is not just about carefulness with words; that's a wise thing. It is more about not doing what is right because it might kill our own ambitions; that's a selfish thing.
Gates said: "Life is not fair; get used to it." We do not all become celebrities. A woman rivaling the renowned beauty of Helen of Troy stepped out of a hovel on the poverty-strewn streets of Cairo as my tour bus whizzed by. Except in the eyes of God, we are not all born equal. A Forrest Gumpism fits: "And that's all I want to say about that."
To say more is to wallow; to do more is to war. In Jean Chatzky's "Talking Money" column, "Be Prepared To Handle The Unexpected," she advised: "Plan in advance." Years ago, a missionary I knew said: "Don't go to Haiti unless you 'know' you're supposed to." The ten U.S. Baptists held there now, accused of trafficking in Haitian children, appear unprepared, unplanned, uncalled, and undone. We all hurt.
Jesus gave practical advice in telling us to consider the cost before we begin: "For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him" (Luke 14:28 NIV). A favorite at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is "The Horse Fair" by Rosa Bonheur. To paint it, she had to disguise herself as a man. She didn't whine or wallow. She didn't back out half way. She warred and won. We all benefit.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.