The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.
Richard L. Evans, Bits & Pieces, March 4, 1993,
Kim Linehan holds the world record in the Women's 1500-meter freestyle. According to
her coach, Paul Bergen, the 18-year-old is the leading amateur woman distance swimmer in
the world. Kim does endless exercises and swims 7 to 12 miles a day. The hardest part of
her regimen? "Getting in the water," she says.
Texas Monthly, quoted in Reader's
Digest, June 1981.
The first electric light was so dim that a candle was needed to see its socket. One of
the first steamboats took 32 hours to chug its way from New York to Albany, a distance of
150 miles. Wilbur and Orville Wright's first airplane flight lasted only 12 seconds. And
the first automobiles traveled 2 to 4 miles per hour and broke down often. Carriages would
pass them with their passengers shouting, "Get a horse!"
On a plaque marking Abraham Lincoln's birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky, is
recorded this scrap of conversation: "Any news down 't the village, Ezry?"
"Well, Squire McLain's gone t' Washington t' see Madison swore in, and ol' Spellman
tells me this Bonaparte fella has captured most o' Spain. What's new out here,
neighbor?" "Nuthin' nuthin' a'tall, 'cept fer a new baby born t' Tom Lincoln's.
Nothin' ever happens out here." Some events, whether birthdays in Hodgenville (or
Bethlehem) or spiritual rebirth in a person's life, may not create much earthly splash,
but those of lasting importance will eventually get the notice they deserve.
Over 2,000 years ago a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied under a respected
tutor. After several years the teacher's efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes
painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting
that he spent days gazing at it. One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was
shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who
admitted he had destroyed the painting. "I did it for your own good. That painting
was retarding your progress. Start again and see if you can do better." Timanthes
took his teacher's advice and produced Sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is regarded as one of
the finest paintings of antiquity.
Today in the Word, September 2, 1992.