Sunday, May 28, 2006

Traveling Light

One of my favorite stories:

Two monks were walking through the woods after a heavy rainstorm. Upon reaching a river that had almost gone over its banks, they met a woman who needed to cross but was clearly afraid. Without a word, the older monk picked her up and carried her across the river. The younger monk looked shocked at this action, but kept his silence as they continued their journey. Finally, he blurted out "You know that it is against the rules of our order to have any contact with women. How could you do that?" "I put the woman down after we crossed the river," said the elder. "Why are you still carrying her?"

Someone once said that worrying about things that are over and done with is like sawing sawdust. There's no point in it, of course, because it's already been sawed!

In December 1991, Terry Anderson, an American journalist, was released after 2,455 days—nearly seven years—as a hostage in Lebanon. During a televised news conference, he was asked how he intended to help capture and punish his captors. Mr. Anderson replied that he had no intention of being involved in a pursuit of his kidnappers. “I’m a Christian…” Mr. Anderson said. “It’s required of me that I forgive, no matter how hard it may be. …I have a whole new life. It’s going to be happy.”

Terry Anderson’s reply, perhaps disappointing to reporters seeking a sensational comment, reminds us that in a world often filled with anger and revenge, there are courageous people committed to good principles. Indeed, the sorrows of the entire world would be immeasurably lightened if more people would cultivate such a heart.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Tonight, I attended for the second year in a row the annual Luminaria at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. As you walk up the hill at the cemetery entrance and come over the ridge, the sea of over 15,000 candles in white paper bags (one at each Union soldier's grave) is overwhelming. Last year, I didn't know what to expect, and was so taken back by what I saw. Tonight was just as good, since I was able to share the experience with Annette, who wasn't able to go last year.

As with many of the civil war sites, there is a strong feeling of reverence about this cemetery. The flickering candles provide an additional visual impact of just how many soldiers are buried in that one cemetery. At one point while we were walking around, someone played "Taps" on a bugle from across the cemetery. It was the one moment when the hundreds of attendees there at that time came to complete silence.

What a way to honor those who have given all for a cause more important than their own lives.