Friday, November 16, 2007

Keep Sweating!

Today James had a "Grandparents' and Special Friends' Tea" at school, to which Jonathan and I and Grandma Frame gladly traipsed.

The headmaster spoke to us. He said many wonderful things about the school and our kids and his passion for classical education, which Jeff and I share.

Then he alluded to a quote that slapped me upside the head with a 2x4. I know I was supposed to be there to soak up James's school experience, and I did get to do that. But I also came away having been schooled myself.

The poignant message issued forth loudly and clearly by the headmaster was profound in its simplicity. Or simple in its profundity. Or simply profound. Or profoundly simple. Or something.

At any rate, it was just a snippet, but it was really, really good.

So without further ado, I present this ancient quote:

"Badness can be gathered by the handful with ease; the path is smooth and lies very near. But the immortal gods put sweat in front of virtue; the way to it is long and uphill, and rough at first, but when you come to the summit, it's easy thereafter, hard though it still may be."

-Hesiod

In other words, "If you want to have a clean house, Becky, then you're just going to have to clean it."

But the message goes much deeper than the daily discipline of maintaining the home. It speaks to building relationships with family, friends and God. It encourages the continual training of children. It warns against laziness. It reminds of rampant and easily accessible evil. It champions perseverance.

The apostle Peter completes Hesiod's thought, adding in the primary component needed to reach that summit:

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. "

-1 Peter 5:8-11

It is God who restores. It is God who strengthens. It is God who carries you to the summit, where you will find yourself to be strong, firm and steadfast. And it is God who called you to His eternal glory in Christ. This you can cling to.

Today I feel like giving up. Maybe you do to. If so, then to the both of us I say:

Keep sweating! The summit draweth nigh.