Friday, July 27, 2012
One of those eternal truths in life is that some of the issues we confront are simply out of our control—but we can control how we respond to the challenge. The Penn State child abuse scandal prompted a lot of conversation regarding how men in a role of leadership responded to the situation. Theirs was a failed response of omission where they stood by and did relatively nothing in an effort to protect their own self interests. It was as if the noise from the football stadium drowned out the cries from the locker room.
There are countless other examples in human history where folks courageously rose to meet the enormous challenges before them and they admirably met them head on with grit and honor. The challenge before the young American colonists seeking freedom is a prime case in point. Situations of extraordinary mountains to climb have long been characterized as “defining moments” in life’s journey. And many defining moments define a man’s legacy. The criteria, however, does not necessarily include a successful outcome.
A man’s legacy in a defining moment primarily revolves around how admirably he rises to the occasion or fails to act. These defining moments can overshadow and trump a lifetime of decisions and actions and a thousand “Atta Boys”. Some of these moments in life can be preceded by ample time for contemplated options and others must be decided on the spur of the moment. The strength of character or lack of it that one has developed up to that moment will have a lot to do with how we react. That one defining moment becomes a legacy forever stamped in the annals of history. Even more importantly, it is etched and highlighted in the eternal Book of Life for all time.
Our individual lives are woven into the encompassing tapestry of human history while our defining moments can be wildly public or intensely private. Jesus’ death on the cross where he chose to do his Father’s will and his subsequent victory over death were perhaps his ultimate public defining moments as a mortal. And it can be a very private moment for an individual when you wake up one morning and resolve to put on your big boy boxers, grow up, and make something of the priceless gift you’ve been uniquely given to live.