By Tom Wacaster
Benjamin Franklin has been credited with a lot of wise sayings, not the least of which is this: “A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by an enemy; all for the want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.” He also is credited with having written, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Don’t ask me the source; I filed those away a long time ago and failed to copy down the original source. Exactly what book, or online site from which I obtained Mr. Franklin’s observations is not as important, however, as the wisdom contained in the saying itself.
Throughout the years others have taken a shot at offering their personal observations. With the advent of “blog pages,” we are now inundated with millions, if not ten’s of millions of personal observations by experts and novices alike. “Blogs,” as they are often called, can be summed up with the title of a popular move from some years back: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.’ Before the advent of the internet and the ‘www’ (that means world wide web, for those of you not familiar with the designation), newspaper editors and columnists were the source of much of our news and views. Blackie Sherrod was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News (not sure if he still is an active staff writer, or if he is even alive), and he would occasionally offer some of his personal observations concerning life. Here are some of the one’s I collected during the years I subscribed to that paper: “What a wonderful world this would be if all we had to worry about was the identity of the Dallas Cowboy quarterback” - “Physicists agree it is harder to hit a golf ball 100 yards over water than 200 yards over grass” - “A foot race is the purest of all sports, at least it was until the chemists got involved” - “Your garbage pail gets better food than 50 percent of the world” - “Conscience is that something that used to keep you awake at nights” “Yesterdays luxury is today's necessity” - “Wars never are won by reasonable men” - “Remorse arrives with sunup” - “You are ready for the lap robe if you can remember when kids asked permission to leave the dinner table” - “The wise man always carries a paddle because he never knows what kind of creek he will be up.”
Now let me give you some personal observations of my own: “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk the sign of?” - “Most days never turn out like you planned the night before” - “Chances are if you say, ‘I might use that someday,’ you won't” - “What most folks need are not New Year’s resolutions, but an internal revolution” (actually I think I got that from someone a long time ago). “Why is that when your left hand is full, that your car keys are in that same pocket, and visa versa?” - “A close corollary would be that it is almost impossible to retrieve your keys out of your right pants pocket with your left hand, and visa versa.” Now, here are some observations for those who might be contemplating a move: “No matter how well you pack your boxes, you always use more than you planned on” - “The size of your rented moving truck or trailer shrinks in direct proportion to the number of boxes you have packed” - “The front part of a moving van is always easier to pack than the last four feet” - “I can pack something in a box, label it, and tell myself that I will remember where I put that object—but I never do” - “Wrapping a breakable item in thick padding is no guarantee that it will not be broken.”
Regarding spiritual matters, here are some additional observations: “A man who claims to believe in God and fails to do anything about it is no different, practically speaking, than the most ardent atheist” - “Association with your brethren will strengthen your character, provide companionship for those rough places in life’s journey, and help you get to heaven” - “Bible study and prayer are not heaven’s suggestions to take or leave, but divine instructions and admonitions that will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” - “I have never known a child of God who prays regularly, reads his Bible daily, and attends faithfully, to ever fall from grace” - “Members of the local congregation that work the hardest complain the least, and visa versa” - “Spiritual growth does not come by owning a Bible, but by reading it, any more than physical growth comes by looking at pictures of healthy food in some health magazine.”
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I’ll close this week’s ‘Tom’s Pen’ with a little quote I came across sometime back and recently reread in my study on the Sermon On The Mount: “If you were to take the sum total of all the authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene, if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out all the excess verbiage, if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon of the Mount.” Whoever wrote that made a very, very wise observation.
Have a good week.