These types of events- where we learn things pertinent to what we find ourselves called to, where we engage in vibrant interaction with a massive spectrum of exciting personalities- these are the events, places, and people we tend to romanticize. We tend to look at anybody behind a podium or on a stage with a sense of awe and illusion. These people become demigods in our sight, whose true identity lies hidden underneath the muffling blanket of heroic charisma we cast over them.
This was my second time at Patriot Academy. The first year was inspiring and encouraging, and gave me an invigorating presentation of hope for grass-roots movements and youth involvement in American politics. To my inexperienced and overly-simplistic view of political mechanics, it seemed that preparation, involvement, and success were merely three delightfully easy steps in a cakewalk that would take me from here to grand finale.
This second time through, though, I got a massive dose of reality.
It was strong, refreshing, maturing. All of a sudden I was presented with a vivid understanding of how much I was required to pay, to sacrifice, to give…
My hyped-up, overly-romanticized image of politics came crashing down in a glittery display of faux-crystal thoughts. I saw all the things I saw before: optimism, enthusiasm, hope, etc., but the glorious hope for the future was now truly tempered with an understanding of how much tedious and thankless work would have to be invested in a cause for potentially so few immediate benefits. The thin gossamer curtains that had dazzled my eyes for so long were torn from before my sight, and I saw clearly the grueling, day-in, day-out battle-wrinkles of wizened brows, haggard faces, and mended-together hearts; I read tiredness in the frowns and drawn faces of the experienced ones; I felt the angst and frustration in between the lines as they spoke of their victories and losses; and I realized just how terrible and inhuman a machine was this thing called Politics. Everything I saw now was colored with the remembrance of defeat and hardship, worry and disappointment. The letters written from that ink never fully wash away.
We are born into a world we didn’t make, yet we’re required to pay the full price for long-term victory in the war we find ourselves in. It is a mighty, daunting undertaking. It’s almost too big. Almost.
In a majestic passage about the juggernaut nature of the Gospel, an angel asks Zechariah, “Who hath despised the day of small things?” Big things don’t happen without little things. Anyone can take a small step on the road today toward victory for tomorrow.
We have been called to a very difficult path. All the same, we have been graciously outfitted with the necessary accoutrements, talents, and time to carry out our duty, although we must also develop our skills. We run a fine balance between making our calling and election sure, and yet relying upon the mighty hand of God to carry us through anything and everything. We must say with John Quincy Adams, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.” Thus, we trust in God’s unfaltering strength to carry us over the torrential cascade of opposition, for, “our labor is not in vain in the LORD (1 Cor. 15:58).”
Let us each seek the will of God for our particular part to play in this battle, and let us be confident, for God is not only the source of planning, but the source of accomplishing as well. And as we set out to perform that will, may we face our task without illusion and, unshrinking, call upon the world to stand aside, for we who march on the order of God are unstoppable.