Tuesday, April 21, 2009


John Smith awoke a little earlier than usual last Sunday morning. The house was quiet, with his wife and kids still asleep, which left him with some time to kill. He drank a cup of coffee and skimmed the headlines of the paper before he realized how particularly beautiful the fall morning was. Quietly he donned an old pair of gym shorts and managed to find his college running shoes on top of a stack of returned comp. papers in the spare bedroom’s closet.
The crisp air and colorful leaves reminded John of why he had loved running back in the day. Most mornings he would see his neighbor Mary running, and though twelve years his senior, she kept a very respectable pace that sent a twinge of guilt though John’s mind for neglecting his fitness.
“Sure, I could still run if I had the time”, John would think, “but its just nicer to get up and read the paper before work, without the stress of cramming more into an already stressful day”.
This usually placated his conscience enough to finish reading the paper before work and finish the day without regretting his prior deci
sion. However, John was proud of himself this morning for actually lacing up his shoes and getting his rear in gear. He turned right out of his driveway toward the entrance of the subdivision a few minutes away, all the while enjoying the sound of his well-worn shoes on the pavement. He smiled and greeted Mary between breaths as he passed her returning from her run. “She sure looked surprised to see me out here”, John mused, “but I still got it.”
His breathing got a little heavier as he started the hill leading onto the main road. John leaned forward and strived to maintain his pace. A few more strides rewarded him with a searing pain in his side and a burning sensation descending down his neck. Perhaps this had been expected, but definitely not this early. Though he hadn’t left with a particular stopping point in mind, it was rapidly getting sooner and sooner until he suddenly stopped to ‘catch his breath’ and walk for a moment by the subdivisions entrance.

“What’s happened to me?”, was all he could think as he turned around to make sure Mary didn’t notice his stopping. “I used be the president of the Southern Striders!”. John made a few more starting attempts before calling it a day and walking home to stretch.
Since our first history lesson, the sacrifice our forefathers made to give us the country we enjoy living in today has been made quite clear. Thank you forefathers. You sacrificed, struggled, yearned, and endured to create a land embodying the most idealistic of principles; liberty.
It is also quite clear that our country is facing many great challenges today, not so different in scope and effect as what our
forefathers dealt with in their day. Do you know what those issues we as American’s are dealing with today? Do you know what the headlines mean?
Eric: “Well . . . some of our country’s issues are the economy, and the war in Iraq, and healthcare, and the social security system, to name a few.”
Ok Eric, all true. Now why are these issues? What events and decisions led us the position we are in today regarding our social security system? Why can’t we just print the money to bail the banks out and call it good? Where is Barack Obama going to get the money for his health care plan. How is John McCain going to continue financing the war in Iraq? Do you know who Bob Barr is? What is your civic duty?
What is your civic duty? What does it mean to be an American? Is it a standard of living envied by most of the world? Is it being able to buy a gun or tell someone what you really think? Is it enjoying the American dream and feeling safe on an airplane? “Ms. Couric, I’d like to use a lifeline.”

“Change does not roll on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” –Martin Luther Kind Jr.
The Roman Republic, cited as a classic example progressive thinking and political freedom, lost both by settling for tranquility. Benjamin Franklin boldly said that “People willing to trade their liberty for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both”. This applies to more than just terrorism.
It is not enough to know we have problems. It is not
enough to know merely what those problems are. It is our duty as Americans to defend liberty. The duty is not limited to those serving in the armed forces. You have the responsibility to ask questions, to use the information available to become informed and educated. Voltaire had it right in part when he advised “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” You have the responsibility to know what you believe, know why you believe it, and to defend that belief. I can be free only as you are free*.
As John Smith found out early one Sunday morning, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Exercise your rights as an American. Only in this can liberty’s continuation be assured.
*modified quote from Charles Caleb Colton


It’s April, and that’s no joke. March has past, and February before that. Yes, even January is gone, and no, they aren’t coming back. Part of April is gone too. It just up and left. The time you spent reading that last sentence, though you will cherish the memory, is gone . . . for good. Do you see what I’m saying? This time you just spent thinking about the aforementioned lost time, that’s gone too. Where has it all run off to? Is there anyway stop the hemorrhaging?
I vividly remember, about two and a half years ago, walking home down the sidewalk in Prague with my friend Isreal Cilio. The cobblestone was uneven under our feet, the little corner market was on our left, and our year as a student missionaries directly in front of us. Isreal and I were talking about how fast time went sometimes. Like summer camp. You get there, meet everyone in staff training, than pack up and go home. It’s that fast. Before you know it, its all a memory, often revisited, but never re-lived.
We blinked and picked up the same conversation. Our students had just graduated. We had our farewell dinner last night and were heating up leftovers on the stove. Today was when our apartment was to have its final cleaning. Where had the time gone?
Last Christmas I went to Maine to see my dad. We booked the tickets in October to try and get the best fare possible. Before the tickets were bought, I checked my exam schedule to see exactly when my last exam was, added the time to get to the airport, and purchased the coinciding tickets. October left, November followed suite, and December was getting away from me too. Exams and graduation were upon us when it finally hit me. One of my best friends was graduating. Graduating! And more than me not being here for it, was the fact that “a chapter in our lives was through”. Gone, like Al Pacino’s cash.
Sadly, there are no time surgeons that I know of, at least none around here. So what is to be done with all this time that just doesn’t seem to be on my side anymore? I don’t think stomping my feet will make it come back. Maybe I should raise my voice and let it know who’s boss, but that might prove to be a waste of time as well.
One things for sure, time is something not to be squandered or trifled with. Time suffers no fools. Mr. T was definitely on point. So, since time cannot be harnessed and we don’t want to be fools, we should enjoy it for what it is . . . a gift. Enjoy the moment. Live it up, it’s only here once. Go crazy. Climb something illegal. Skip class and sit in the sun. I don’t know! Whatever makes you come alive, do that. Don’t postpone living any longer. Don’t spend today dreaming about tomorrow or regretting the past, because before you know it, today will soon be gone.