“A Tale of Only Two Lives”
It will take more then hanging of Ten Commandments in schools to acquire these virtues. As a matter of fact and please indulge me as I make this statement—radical as it is-- no politician whether Democrat or Republican can instill these values in America by mere legislation. The values I’m referring to are illustrated in tale of two living stories. The virtues of these two men did not originate with government nor legislation nor did they nurture them. They came by another source.
Whether it's a traditional two parent home or a home with a lone surrogate parent, children will never grow to acquire these virtues if visible, caring, supportive, faith inspiring, and loving adults do not model them before children. Adults—please hear me—what you are speaks so loudly that your youngsters can’t hear what you are saying. This is tale of two lives, each one with uncommon valor. Please listen as you read.
He died of a brain tumor on February 21, 1945. His biographer, Sally Magnusson, wrote that most people who knew Eric, “...observed consistency of his life.” In research she did for biography of Eric’s life, she thought she had found some flaws in this stalwart character. She came across an eyewitness to behavior of missionaries who were incarcerated with Eric during last days of his life. The eyewitness had nothing good to say about Western missionaries in Japanese internment camps—just reports of tempers lost, heavy moralizing, and selfishness. The eyewitness, however, had this to say about Eric. “It is rare indeed when anyone has good fortune to meet a saint, but he comes as close to one as anyone I have ever known.” He, of course, was Eric Liddell.
Maybe you’ve heard Liddell’s story. If not, listen up. In 1924 at Olympic Games in Paris, he refused to run a heat scheduled on a Sunday. According to Liddell’s convictions, he would have violated Sabbath by running on Sunday. Not to worry though. Liddell managed to negotiate an unheard-of switch from 100-meter race he had been scheduled to run to 400 meter for which he had not trained. The 400-meter race would not be run on Sunday.
On July 11, 1924, Lidell won that race and was showered with Olympic glory. But in stead of cashing in on fame, Liddell followed in his parent’s footsteps, becoming a missionary to China. Just before Japan invaded China, Liddell was able to get his wife and daughters out of country to Canada. His wife was pregnant with his third daughter at time. He never got to see her. He died in a prison camp. He was a man who did not compromise his convictions for a life of ease. And his convictions stayed with him until his death. Where are Eric Lidells of today?
Once again, I remind you that this is a tale of two lives. His name was Pat Tillman. He turned his back on fame and fortune to serve as an enlisted man in United States Army in Afghanistan. I’m sure you’ve heard his story. But have you heard that his honor has been impugned and trashed by an American journalist? After all it’s a free press in America. And any idiot can say anything. Someone once said that it’s better to remain silent and let people think you’re ignorant then to speak and remove all doubt. Pat Tillman was so far advanced in virtue obviously some journalists have had a difficult time grasping depth and beauty of his impeccable valor. So they’ve chosen to spew trash about him, calling him a "chump." But this isn’t about spineless naysayers. This is story from which legends are made.