One of the reasons I enjoy the telling of stories, is the hearing of stories. One of the only reasons I enjoy a campfire, is that it affords the chance to hear tales. For the next five minutes, come sit by this fire.
My father tells the story of the first train to roll through Blount County, in East Tennessee. He grew up in a rural area, that like many rural areas of the past, have become crowded with development.
An airport and every convenience now surrounds his childhood home, but there was a time when it was on an old country road. It was a different time, but it remains to this day.
When the tracks were laid a couple of miles away, there was talk of what it might mean. Some of the folks in the area had only heard of trains.
Some of his family had taken trains to far off places in hopes for work. There were door-to-door salesmen, neighbors from across the way, and schools, but the train tracks were knew.
One evening, the first train came rolling through. There was the hum of the engine and the whistle echoed through the rolling hills.
It must be Armageddon. Jesus must be coming back. The world was surely ending. So many people thought so many things.
The next day, the sun came up, and the word got out. False alarm.
Global pandemic? There was the flu pandemic in the early 1900’s.
Runaway technology? There was the refrigerator and the FM radio.
Political unrest? Pick any country and any time in history.
Preachers preaching that Christ is coming through the clouds? Two thousand years.
Communists coming to take over America? As long as there have been Communists and an America.
Crazy youth with crazy ideas that go against the beliefs of their parents? Hello?
There is nothing new under the sun. Seriously.
I could not ask you to come sit by this fire if there was not the promise of a song. Usually, I prefer something off the radio, rather than a dude with a guitar leading rounds, but that is my preference.
I like the version by the Propellerheads and Shirley Bassey. The title is “History Repeating”, and it was written by Alex Gifford.
“Whatever may come, the world is revolving. They say the next big thing is here, that the revolution is near, but to me it is all quite clear, that it is all just a little bit of history repeating.”
The song says that it is all a little bit of a sad joke, but that it is all just a little bit of history repeating. Here is the advice.
“Some people won’t dance if they don’t know who is singing. Why ask your head, it is your hips that are swinging? Life is for all to enjoy. Woman, man, girl, and boy. Feel the pain, feel the joy, and side-step the little bit of history repeating.”
Why else would any of what thought leaders and thinkers resonate so many years later?
Lao Tsu spoke 2500 years ago, but his words make sense today. Jesus was preaching 2000 years ago, and we still wonder what it meant.
I listen to Deepak Chopra recite the Bahagavad Gita, which may be the oldest of all sacred texts, and it applies to many things in my life today.
Likewise, people look for political leaders and authors from history to help inspire themselves and others. MLK studied Gandhi, Gandhi studied those before him, and now we study them (I hope).
They all are relevant.
Not because their wisdom is timeless, but because there is nothing new under the sun. This can be, like the song says, all a sad joke, but it can also be wonderful news.
Whatever is, will pass. Whatever will be, can be shaped by our actions today. That may be the best news.
Come sit by this fire.
For a minute, imagine good for the world that is so far away. Wonder how many stars are in the night sky, rather than what will come of the world that waits for you tomorrow.
So many people have so many ideas about what needs to be done to find fulfillment, purpose, and to help the world along. The starter pack for my advice, is simply this.
Enjoy every minute of it.
If it is treating you well, be thankful for the treatment. If you feel like something in the world needs to be changed, but it seems impossible, be thankful for your desire to want better.
And do not freak out. It might just be a train, and the sun might just come up tomorrow.