Monday, February 23, 2009

The Present

What a difference a century makes. Geologists and scientists talk about billions of years, biologists and evolutionists talk about millions of years, historians, preachers and philosophers talk about thousands of years, I just want you to look back at the last one hundred.

Most of you weren’t around one hundred years ago but your parents and grandparents were. Picture them and their lifestyle one hundred years ago. Especially when they talk about “the good old days” and the converse “when I was young, I had to ...” you finish the sentence.

One hundred years ago the average life expectancy was 47.
One hundred years ago only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub.
One hundred years ago only 8 percent had a phone
One hundred years ago there were only 144 miles of paved roads with a speed limit of an outrageous 10 mph.
One hundred years ago the tallest structure was the Eiffel Tower.
One hundred years ago the average wage was 22 cents an hour.
One hundred years ago 95 percent of all births took place AT HOME.
One hundred years ago 90 percent of doctors had no college education.
One hundred years ago most women would wash their hair once a month and used Borax and egg yolks to do it.
One hundred years ago the top causes of death were Pneumonia, the flu, TB, and diarrhea would kill you.
One hundred years ago marijuana, heroin, and morphine were available over the counter at local drug stores.
One hundred years ago there were only 230 reported murders in the whole USA.

You reveal the present when you describe the past. When Grandpa looked back saying how hard it was when he was a kid and how kids “have it so easy today.” He isn’t really talking about the past. When Grandma fondly remembers life on the farm when she was a kid in the middle of her confusing, hectic, internet-filled life she really isn’t talking so much about the past but making a comment on today.

We define the present when we reveal our past. Part of that is the teacher in all of us wanting our friends and family not to fall into the same mistakes that were made in the past. But part of it is our mind making an attempt to grasp the un-grasp-able. Our mind is trying to wrap gift paper around a cat and place it under a tree with a pretty ribbon, but it just won’t sit still. Even the smartest man who ever lived was conflicted with this attempt to wrap a cat when he said both:”there is nothing new under the sun” and “no one knows the future and what is to come”.
The best we can do is unwrap our particular part of knowledge for others and share. It doesn’t matter if they listen or not, we have done our part to define this crazy world just a little and that is why we have added 40 years to our life expectancy and ALSO why most of us die from abusing our body. I’ll just praise God for my shower and shampoo.

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