Life is stories.
History is an attempt to give those stories legs.
Some stories last only a day, while others stories last days, even weeks. Still other stories last for generations, enter the historian.
And then there are those that last an eternity and these have nothing to do with history or historians. No wonder the life of Christ is referred to as “the greatest story ever told”. Think of the billions of time it has been repeated, and in most individual’s lives, several times. It moved past “history” millenia ago.
But most stories are only momentary, fleeting and forgotten by day’s end. Usually they recall the events of the day, and more often than not, the annoying ones. Tomorrow will be a fresh slate, we are really saying, for if tomorrow’s story are the same, they are no longer stories, but routines. And we hate routine, even as we are often bound to it, sometimes even slavishly so.
So it is the other stories, the one that have legs, that capture special niches in our memories. Only most of those stories are not about us directly, but other people and events in which we are just bystanders.
As long as we live we can hear an old song, take in a familiar fragrance we hadn’t smelled in years, see a photograph, hear a familiar phrase, and we are suddenly transported back to another place and time, and are awash in old memories of heroes, or romances, all with their own stories, “freshly remember’ed”.
These grander tales we only read about or see from a distance, in part because we believe it was never in our stars to be any closer.Yet, it was us, and hundreds of millions like us, that first built this nation, then, lately, seem to have let it slip through our fingers. But the wonder of its building, and our place in it, is why we read and listened, for the old stories are filled with great deeds entwined with great purpose carried out by men and women who, while the books make them seem larger than life, are really no bigger than ourselves. So these stories are repeated again and again, from father to son, mother to daughter, or perhaps only from book to child. But they made their mark.
So we all know the power of these stories, for it’s the retelling that makes them eternal and transcendent.
Concerning current events and politics, just consider how many stories of just the past five years will still be retold in another five. Precious few. Even the tales of coming woe will become little more than a recitation of ugly routines in a few years.
To my point, we’re probably not going to win this war, you know?
Oh, somebody may step in, St Michael on a blazing steed, or a Cromwell to send the Congress home under threat of the hangman. Just don’t plan on it.
It’s not that I don’t think there will be a political fix in the next two election cycles, it’s that I no longer believe there can be one, at least the sort that will turn our ship around. America’s true salvation, if there is to be one, will have to come from a generation not yet born…
…and if they are to first, know what the original purpose of America was all about, and then second, be equipped to restore it, they will have to be taught these things afresh. And we cannot rely on books to do this, although it would help if you turned your root cellars into libraries.
They must learn through stories.
Me, I don’t want my grandchildren, who I’ve bequeathed this miserable situation to, to remember their grandfather as one who was so wise that he foresaw his country’s demise, yet only complained about it in the last ten years or so of its death rattle.
I intend to give them a story, of deeds, maybe not so brave, but certainly not sitting on my ass, so that no matter what the public record may say, they will know, through the epic tales of their puny little House, that there was something out there worth fighting for.
And that there might be again.
So if America can stand but a little while longer, a day or a year, then from one of our Houses, maybe more, shall arise the new hope of a reborn America.
We must buy them time.
So pick your last stand on the hill of you choice, or perhaps at the foot of the Enemy, making him choose his last stand instead.
I’ve chosen mine.
Just get up and go out and give your children and your grandchildren a story that will last until the ending of time in your House.
Don’t let them bury your song and your story with you.