My family and I went on a trip across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware over the weekend. We spent Saturday mostly in Philly checking out the historical sights and grabbing a great cheesesteak, and Saturday night and Sunday in Delaware. New Jersey was just an accident (you can fill in your own sly remarks on that phrase), missing an exit and traveling down through Jersey to get to Newark, DE.
It was a personal history trip in many different forms.
My oldest son Jonathan just had done some historical research in his fifth grade class on the American Revolution, so it was fun watching him see the history before his eyes. We stood in the hall where people signed their lives to a cause that might cost them their lives, we saw the chair in which Benjamin Franklin said that sun is now rising, and we gazed at the bell that rang and has this scripture inscribed on it: "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants" (Leviticus 25:10). But the best part was the people who dressed and spoke as if they were still there in the late 1700s, interacting with people from today. Our kids were particularly tickled when one man, acting the part of a delegate to the convention of 1776, kept arguing with a tourist about whether Washington was a state or a man.
What choices would I have made, faced with those circumstances? The search for meaning is a large part of my ponderations these days, and if it is true that a life worth living must be worth dying for, then: What do I fight for, and at what cost? (You could argue against the assertion that you need to be willing to die for something to have a meaningful life, and maybe we'll do that in a different post.)
This would be a interesting fill-in-the-blank: [Your Name] is fighting for _______.
But let's continue on the trip. Delaware is where I spent, as a local friend puts it, my "misguided youth." I was able to see people that I had not seen in up to twenty years, learn the happenings of people that I spent time with as a teenager, and catch up on local tales.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how my choices turned out, decisions that I should have made, actions I shouldn't have taken, what could have been and what is. The problem is that any one choice would leave me in a different situation now, and I can gladly say that my wife and kids are worth the pain and lost moments.
But it all comes at a price. Looking back, I sometimes feel like a bull in destiny's china shop. And it reminds me of the importance of decisions, actions, and most of all ideas.
Monday, March 17, 2008
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