I recently listened to an interview of a business consultant who said that he blames Thomas Jefferson for many of the problems in the United States, because Jefferson was the one who came up with the phrase in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The consultant said that he had no problem with the life and liberty part of the phrase, but that Jefferson’s use of the words “pursuit of happiness” was a mistake.
My wife and I were married in June 1980, which was a month after I finished my first year in law school. One of the weekly television shows that we watched together during the first year of our marriage was the prime-time soap opera, Dallas. We’ve come a long way since then. Today, there’s no way we would waste our time on that type of show.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of willingly choosing to accept less freedom in order to become something greater than what we already are. When we choose to consistently give up certain freedoms, we become much more responsible, and we are eventually able to achieve more than we would have ever thought was possible. This is a critical concept that must be understood and practiced by those of us who are serious about becoming what God intended us to be.
In 1976, during the spring semester of my freshman year in college, I got in my car and drove to the local Western Union office. When I walked in, I told the clerk at the counter that I wanted to send a telegram. At that time, a telegram was a written message that was sent by telegraph from one Western Union office to a Western Union office in a different city. The second Western Union office would then make arrangements to hand-deliver the message to the intended recipient.
Last week, I wrote about a handicapped man who had asked me for help at Walmart. He reminded me of the homeless people I see on a regular basis in downtown Peoria who routinely ask for money when I pass by. But he was more sophisticated than the homeless people I’m accustomed to. While he didn’t ask for money, I believe that it was his intention to do so until he saw the way I reacted to his behavior.
I attended Saint Louis University School of Law from 1979 to 1982. There was a McDonald’s restaurant that was located about six blocks from the school. The area where the McDonald’s was located was run-down, and it was not uncommon to run into a homeless person when I stopped at McDonald’s for a bite to eat.
Do you know what the Blessed Mother, the apostles, the disciples, and all the followers of Jesus had in common, other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God? They all forgave everyone who was involved in the torture and murder of their Savior. Think about how difficult that had to be. I know how hard it is for me to forgive certain people for what they have done to me, but I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to forgive those murderers.
Earlier this month, I had a conversation with a judge who recently retired after serving as a state court judge for more than 20 years. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “John.” John is in his early 60s, and during our conversation he asked me how many grandchildren I have. I told him that after adding three new grandsons last month, my wife and I have 10 grandchildren.