7 hours ago
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
What is strength?
Is strength making the decision that is best for you, or best for all involved? Is it making the decision that is best for the most fragile, the "least of these," at the expense of others?
Is strength in holding all concerns inside, never letting others know the hurt or pain or struggles? Or is it in reaching out, knowing that as you do, some will offer true help, while others will be self-serving or give unintended slights that sear the soul?
Is strength in choosing to end the fight early, before the final bell has rung? Or is strength in staring down the inevitable, knowing the fight was lost before it was begun, and yet refusing to give in until the last dying breath?
Is strength in the easiest way, or the hardest climb?
Is it the fearless, muscled warrior, or the trembling, bowed sufferer?
What is strength?
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Since January I've had dead people hanging around. Not that I don't normally, since history is usually about the dead, rather than the quick, but treading through old cemeteries brings that home in a more basic way.
Some, like William Luther, died in the prime of life for a cause that would be lost. "If to die for liberty be right, remember me, if wrong, forget me."
Others, like Archibald Hamilton, lived to a ripe old age, glorying in victory with their last breath.
Some were honored with monuments, as seen above. Others were not so lucky.
Each one lived, each one died, and each of them tug at me, asking to be remembered. I only wish that we could learn as much about the members of a small country church as we can about those buried in Westminster Abbey. Their importance to history's lumbering march onward is questionable, but their importance to the family and friends whom they loved was immeasurable.
The greatest lesson I've learned in my soon-to-be finished undergraduate career has been that history isn't just about the monument-bearers...it's also about the lives of quiet desperation, or unanswered hope. Ordinary people, with ordinary lives who change things in ordinary ways. Like the thoughts of a student, a century later, quietly treading through an old cemetery.