Some of my favorite memories from The Master's College come from all the writing classes I took with the Communication Department Chair Dr. Jack Simons. His sarcasm, honest criticism of my writing, and heartfelt encouragement that I never give up were an invaluable mix. At the end of every year, Dr. Simons gives each of his graduates a parting gift, books and a certificate. I received Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard and A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems by A.E. Housman. Housman has been a favorite poet of mine for a couple years now, especially his poem "Reveille," which I encourage you to read in full sometime. The last stanza goes liket this:
Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.
How many times have I read that verse and clasped the book to my chest in rapture? That sounds too much like a line lifted from Anne of Green Gables. I won't go on. But, you'll have to admit that Housman was a genius. Grant me that much.
I don't know if Housman was a Christian. In fact, I know very little about his personal life, but I think that poem has a lot to say for the Christian college graduate, or anyone walking by faith. We have so very little time on this earth. Breath truly is a ware that will not keep. Every moment there is the chance that it will expire. I was surprised to see how quickly my three years of college went by, and I know the rest of my life will pass just as quickly. I certainly can't spend my days idly if I'll only have 80 years (at most) on this earth. I have do to something that matters. For me, that means using my writing to spread God's truth and encourage His church. It will most likely mean something very different for you but just as important. We must lay up treasures in heaven that will not expire. Our treasures on earth are like our breath, here only for a moment. Even my writing, though it may last after I am dead, will not last forever. Lives that were changed will last, and they must be the measure of the journey.