We had just finished reading “Blackbeard’s Ghost” to our ‘little pirates’ so off they went, child’s yellow beach shovel in one hand and blue bucket in the other, to search for the ‘x’ etched in the soil left eons ago by this nefarious ne’re-do-well.
They found it too, the ‘x’ and the treasure buried beneath it, on the very edge of a cliff, at the base of the gnarly old dead oak that frowned over the scene, only accessible by the courageous treasure-seeker.
Whether told “within a pool of lamplight in a nursery or round a campfire,” stories of heroic deeds (sans Blackbeard) from the past that appeal to heroes needed today, are still worth the time it takes to recount within our families, our churches, our community, our country in this our crucial hour where still required are those who will stand against the storm.
With “a little artistic license,” Doug McWilliams writes “There’s a classic toast given in The Count of Monte Cristo:
“‘Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment…be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome, ‘do your worst!’ For I shall do mine! …Then the Fates will know you as we do: as a man.’
“Don’t we instinctively know that is true? Life is meant to be a struggle. As a young man I would think to myself ‘bring the storm to me! Because I want to LIVE this life.’”
As “the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are the warp and woof of the American nation,” so the threads of character and courage comprise the fabric of those cut from the same cloth as “the veers of ancient times” whose accounts of their lives are stories for today if we are to “be delivered from unreasoning panic and unbelieving timidity” (J.A. Jacob).
Our personal story, our nation’s history, and church history, if recalled and retold, is a buried treasure “well fitted to encourage the desponding, to determine the wavering, to put down with a firm hand the suggestions of selfish doubt, to kindle up in many a soul great enthusiasms for truth and goodness (Expositor’s Dictionary).
“They lose much who know little or nothing of it.”
And, as fathers and as mothers, grandpas and grandmas, it is our job to tell it.