Tag Archives: Benjamin Franklin
“Freedom is not free”. A popular idiom on days like today. It is Veterans Day. Originally, Armistice Day. A day to celebrate the peace achieved at the end of the “War to End All Wars” – WWI. This changed in 1954 when the powers-that-be recognized that the world was not only still on fire – but flaming up almost constantly somewhere. It is, however, one of the few national holidays that is still celebrated on its original date.
“A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
200 years later, the republic still stands – mostly thanks to the veterans who continually stood in the gap with only their “sacred honor” as their shield when the homeland was threatened. Growing up in the post WWII era, the veterans of WWII were the mentoring generation of my own. They were my teachers, church leaders, store owners, factory workers, community leaders. They were the people I wanted to be when I grew up.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”~President Thomas Jefferson
It is my hope that as our nation heals from this last election cycle, which – sad to say – was a different type of war, we will look to our Veterans for leadership. They understand sacrifice. They understand that freedom is not on any level free. They understand what it takes to defend a republic. They understand “sacred honor” to the depth of their core.
“I consider it an indispensible duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them into his Holy keeping.”~General George Washington at Valley Forge
God bless our Veterans.
1942 Daily Ration: Read: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33
” ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’~1 Cor 10:31
“Real religion is not something we can put off and on like our Sunday clothes It is something that is mixed in with life itself in all its contacts and concerns The faith we hold is something that should hold us.
“Life is made up mostly of monotonies, doing same thing over and over again. And the really important work is done upon these humbler levels. It is in our life’s simplicities, not alone its splendors, we should think of the glory of God.
“How do e treat our friends? How do we conduct ourselves before the eyes of little children? How do we go about the day’s routine? How do we stand up against the head winds, or to what are quite as perilous, sunshine and gentle breezes?
“After a few years it will not matter whether we ruled an army or an industry. What will matter then, eternally, is whether we ruled our spirit and were faithful in the little ways of life and found God’s glory in the commonplaces of the earth.
A Living Epitaph – sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?
Death surrounds us. We lose family, friends, acquaintances, loved ones, pets, co-workers, even celebrities (those people we don’t really “know”, but are somehow a part of our life), and in my case…sadly, former students. Just a part of life throughout our journey upon this muddy sphere of life. Our periods of mourning varies depending on the person and their personality. For me, cutting my hair, music, crying buckets upon buckets of tears, building a memorial, and spiritual introspection all seem to be part of my mourning process. Don’t ask me why, it is just me. Maybe it is also why I am fascinated by epitaphs – although there is nothing special on our own family stones.
George Washington: (1732-1799) – Looking into the portals of eternity teaches That the Brotherhood of Man is Inspired by God’s WORD; Then all prejudice of race vanishes away.
I tend to think that music is the Light that is always in my transitory hallway of mourning. It echoes down that darken space where the lights are almost non-existent and scary shadows stretch up the walls. It beckons me forward when I really don’t want to move. If I listen, it encourages my steps, inch-by-tiny inch. Its harmonies, melodies, accompaniments, harmonic overtones, dissonances waft around me until I am ready to open a new door in my life and walk through. When my father died, I filled my life with classical music. Requiems – masses – in particular, the B-Minor Mass by Bach and Bernstein’s Mass. My college choir sang the B-Minor Mass just a few months after Daddy died and “Simple Song” from Bernstein’s Mass resonated in my soul constantly – and still does. I spent a long time in that hallway before my steps reached the right door to open. Many years later, that transitory hallway appeared again when my mother died. This time it was filled with spirituals…specifically the recordings of Moses Hogan choirs: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot and Gonna Ride. It was a shorter hallway for some reason, but still a very dark one.
Benjamin Franklin: (1706-90) – The body of B. Franklin, Printer, Like the cover of an old book Its contents torn out, And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be wholly lost, For it will, as he believed, appear once more, In a new and more perfect edition, Corrected and amended. By the Author.
Since the time my father walked me through my first graveyard and pointed out special family markers, looking at tombstones have always been fascinating to me. Walking through old, old cemeteries is always one of my favorite things to do. Especially taking the time to read the Epitaphs. Epitaphs are a way of summing up a person’s life. Some of the great ones are written by the deceased before their passing. Some are blank. Some are short. Some are erased by weathering over the decades. Now there are even pictures and computer chips that can be activated by cell-phones. Epitaphs are as varied as the people that walk upon this earth.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior: (1929-1968) – Free at Last, Free at Last Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last.
I watched a movie this weekend. In it the protagonist was challenged to change his life. In the climax, the protagonists sits in a graveyard and writes two lists. One was a list of lies that he has always believed; the other, a list of truths that he has found to be true. He buries the lies and then writes a living epitaph for himself using those truths as a guide. Those three words stuck with me all weekend. A Living Epitaph: a sentence that describes who we want to be from here on out. We don’t have to wait till we die before we are “free” or “re-written” or “inspired”. Because of Grace, we can be all of these things today. We can bury the “lies” we believed about ourselves and become – A Living Epitaph. It is just a simple action of opening up the door and walking into the Light.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” Jn 11:25