A lesson from 49 years ago
Like many of us, there was a time when I truly didn’t understand it when people older than me talked of how rapidly “time flies by.” Now I understand fully. Forty nine years ago I was a senior at San Marcos High School. Looking back, I am so thankful for the town that God gave me to grow up in and for the parents He gave to me, and for the friends that He surrounded my family with. What I saw in those years was a very definite pride in our community and our school. On Friday nights, when the lights came on, old Evans Field would be packed. There were often more Rattlers at away games than the “home-towners” and, if for some “emergency,” you couldn’t go to the game, the town of San Marcos would seem empty if you drove around. We never really know what others are thinking, feeling, or dealing with, but the sense that I had in San Marcos was that we were proud and thankful to be “Rattlers,” no matter our age, no matter whether we played in games or not, no matter the color of our skin, we were “Rattlers.” We were unified. We shared a vision and goal. As I state this, I pray that my friends, regardless of race or finances or whatever, felt the same. They always seemed to.
I was serving on our Student Council and cannot really remember what initiated it, but we decided to create a patriotic program to present to our school. The program had patriotic singing by some very talented classmates, it had some historic speeches delivered, and a skit that stays in my mind as I look around our country today. We presented the program several times in San Marcos. New Braunfels High School learned of it and invited us to deliver it to them. Even the television network KLRU in Austin had us come and perform it for them to record and present.
The skit had America undergoing a Communist/Socialist takeover. It ended with the American leader (who was our Student Council President) being shot, falling to the ground, and as he was dying, he was reaching up for the American flag. In fact, there is a photograph of him reaching up for those 13 stripes and 50 stars in our old yearbook. As we see it fly today, that flag still represents a country that began in extremely miraculous ways as 13 colonies and, then was blessed to blossom into 50 states.
For “some reason” these memories have been on my mind recently and a few days ago I “happened” to read across a statement made by Jesus in the book of Mark in my Bible. I “stumbled” into it in the 3rd chapter of Mark in verses 24 and 25, “And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness….”
As I grew up in San Marcos, Texas, my parents were Democrats, but I can assure you that what they attempted to teach me while growing up under their roof was like night and day from what some are attempting to make America today. I certainly didn’t learn it all and still fall short, but what they shared with me were things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It was day to day things like being a true friend, reaching out kindly to new students in school, helping others in the community, not touching things that are “too hot” (from a true hot coffee pot, but also from being tempted to go for things that are wrong), there are definite rights and wrongs. When I reflect back to those “flying by years,” what I saw in my fellow Rattlers were that they were being taught those same things, both at home and in our public schools. As I said, being a person, I often can turn in the wrong direction and do or say things that I grow to regret, but regardless of shortcomings, I believe many of us have fallen short of lovingly standing for what is right, and for the values and desires of our Founding Fathers, and especially The Founding Father. I have overlooked many incredible miracles through my lifetime, but as I look back on the history of America, our creation could not have been “an accident.”
As we see the extreme divisions in our country (kingdom), we must understand that as Scripture tells us, we cannot stand. We call our separations today Democrat vs. Republican, or Liberal vs. Conservative. In reality, looking back at history, it is original America vs. what some are attempting to slip into the very things that our Forefathers were moving away from. They were willing to “pledge to each other their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor” to escape what some today are attempting to promote.
And……..So I think back 49 years to that “Patriotic Program” and my heart tells me that we must lovingly stand firm and to “keep ourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” ( Jude 21-23).
Some things are much easier to say than to do, but it is time to not just talk, but to act, not hatefully, but lovingly and yet firmly.
Clay Sullivan is a resident of San Marcos