Written on 1/09/2020
I came away empty today from a meeting that often offers challenging and thoughtful speeches as after lunch fare. The young 40-something businessman was introduced as a creative, passionate entrepreneur, promoting "the North": Minnesota and its North Star wonders of cold, outdoors, and generally northern pride.
As owner of a highly successful set of businesses, including a popular restaurant and a soon -to -go national clothing trademark, he said he was taking a little risk today to promote his passion for rescuing the environment in this age of climate change.
Getting his companies' "carbon footprint" down by various means was his #1 goal. "The thing I care about the most, is this," he said, and flashed a picture on the screen of his two young children. "My goal is to be able to say to them twenty years from now that I did all I could to save our environment for your generation."
It was a persuasive speech to our open-minded, ready-to-hear group. I wondered what I might have asked, with a little humor, that might have pointed toward more eternal things. Something like, "Well, what is 'northern food' besides the Scandinavian fare we hear so much about?"
Not sure even that would have merited a laugh. I left, struggling with my own real question, which would have been, "What is your deepest belief about this world we're in, and Who made it, and gave the very gift of life to your beautiful children and to yourself? Is there any 'Good News' in your life, anything that gives you joy in being alive, and makes you want to change things for the better, and that can give a vision for a selfless life for yourself and your children?"
I longed to ask the faith question, about love in the world and sacrifice. About laying down your life for others. About the One Who came from God above to live among us, and show us the Way Home, to God, by giving up His own life so ours could be saved.
I remembered the oiler on the SS Alcee Fortier after we twenty "sea-going cowboys" had brought 375 bred mares from Newport News to Salonica to help restart agriculture in Europe after WWII, who had spent our week there, drunk and with a prostitute, and was heading to hospital with syphillis and little hope in his heart, and had asked us boys, way back in 1946, the great questions about life, "What's it all about? What does life mean? What hope is there?"
How easily we miss the real question, the real point to our lives on earth. It is about God Who loves both us and the world, both of which He created.
--- A thought for 2020.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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