Tuesday, August 12, 2008

History Brings a Sense of Perspective

Last week, Sandy and I drove to Franklin, Tennessee and took a tour of Carnton Plantation. It is near the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, a desperate attempt of the confederates to retake Franklin and turn the tide. Some 8,000 to 9,500 died.

We had the most mesmerizing tour guide I've ever heard. He even answered questions poetically. Perhaps for the first time, I felt the cold, entrenched pain of this tragic war that dealt with America's original sin of slavery. In this quiet little community, the clock struck 4:00 on November 30, 1864, and 20,000 gray coats stood against 20,000 blues. There was a knock on the door of the plantation house, and a gray coated gentleman gently stated the non-negotiable request that this house be used as a hospital. The blood stains on the floor remain and remind.

History at times gives me a deep and liberating sense of perspective. We get so upset over such little things. Somebody doesn't like us, or opposes us, and we can't get what we want. Somebody makes our life difficult, or an issue overtakes our consciousness. Jesus said to Martha, "you are anxious about many things," and his words describe us.

Yet nobody is knocking ono our door of my house to take it, because it happens to be in the middle of a bloodbath. None of the things that bother me really matter, compared to the huge events that shape history.

So help me, Lord, to let it all go. Help me, with Paul, to "count it nothing but joy." I am privileged and blessed.