I am a couple of days from turning 62 years old. Today seemed like a good day to start to journal my thoughts. It will be cathartic in a world that is going a bit mad. Ironically, to those around me, they think that I am not quite right, —— a bit off, —— negative. The reality is that I believe that I am the optimist. My hope is not in the world, or of men. The world can be so very cruel, and men so very vain and foolish in their selfish pursuits. I know this, because I am a man, —— and have been so very vain and foolish in my own life. Forgiveness for these prideful follies is my only salvation, and that salvation and redemption only comes by one avenue, —— and that is through Christ who sacrificed for me. He is the door to my future and my sanity in this world.
When I accepted Christ, I tell others that my world was turned upside down. The comfortable life was gone. When you are faced with who you really are, —— your own selfish nature, —— it is no fun. There is work to be done. The struggle really comes in where you look like a “fool” to the rest of the world. You backslide because you don’t wish to look foolish. Pride and vanity become your enemy. In a way, —— at times, —— you become Peter who denied Christ after His crucifixion, only it is not quite so overt. One does not do this out of a lack of love of Christ, but out of fear, as Peter did. To be ridiculed is a form of death. It strikes at the very heart of our desire to be accepted, loved, and “yes” —— adored. Christ said that the world would hate us for His name’s sake. Thank goodness, Christ never denied Peter. I have to remind myself of that every day.
To do this, I have become a reader. Never was a reader when I was young. What was lacking was inspiration. Inspiration to learn, —— I mean, true inspiration to learn did not come until I came into a knowledge of salvation through Christ, and the Bible, —— which I believe is God’s love letter to us. While God’s Word, the Bible, is maligned and ridiculed as fiction, —— a book to be cast aside and banned from the public square, I see a life of learning. A book that ties together the myriad of dots in our lives. Science, faith, the natural world, laws, and human relationships are all tied together in this wonderful tapestry that we call “life”. Where others see contradiction, I see a harmony behind it all that makes perfect sense.
History is a wonderful teacher. Still, some, even my friends think it is a waste of time. I am fascinated by it to the point of distraction. I find inspiration in those who were geniuses, but were ridiculed in their time.
One tragic story is that of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian Physician who specialized in Obstetrics and Surgery. He was brilliant having graduated from the Universities of Vienna. As he was teaching and practicing medicine, he became alarmed at the mortality rate of mothers and infants by infection. He noticed that medical students were coming from studying cadavers to the obstetrics wing of the hospital. The students would then examine pre-birth mothers without washing their hands. Ignaz began requiring that students and medical personnel wash thoroughly before entering the obstetrics wing of the hospital. The mortality rate plummeted. He came up with a theory of “germs”, that where unseeable, and began pioneering antiseptic procedures. The medical community rebelled against this inconvenience and Ignaz Semmelweis was maligned and criticized. He was not immune to it. He was committed to an asylum in 1865 where, just 14 days later, —— he was beaten by guards at the asylum and died. Later, of course, Louis Pasteur confirmed “germ theory”, and Joseph Lister went on to use Ignaz’s antiseptic procedures as the basis for saving many lives. The world can be a very cruel place for genius.
The inspiration from a story such as this does not come from the tragedy of Ignaz Semmelweis’ life, but from the preservation of his study, thought, and intuition. His pioneering in antiseptic procedures saved many lives, —— maybe even yours or someone you know. In the end, the truth prevailed. We must remember that in our struggle to present the “truth”, and standing up for what is right and proper. There will be those who turn on us and ridicule us. It will not be pleasant. As for me, I will remember the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, and the difference he made.