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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Day 1: All In A Day's Work

The title of today’s blog sounds like the title of a certain magazine column, doesn’t it? Actually, that’s the whole idea behind the word “journal”--a record of the “dailies,” or, “all in a day’s work.” Since the 14th Century, the word “journal” has been used to describe the inventory of what hath “shone forth” in the day. The “diary” (“dia” meaning “day”) as we know it did not become used until the 16th Century.

Why explain all this? For starters, this is a topic “shining forth” on this particular day in my life and I chose to share something I’ve learned. The next 30 days I intend to make record here of what “shines forth” in my day, each day.

I am here reminded of the personal challenges explored by Jonathan Edwards in his “Resolutions” (started in 1716 and expanded through 1723, as far as we know) and Benjamin Franklin in his “Thirteen Virtues” (1726). These two historical giants were personally concerned with and accepted the challenge of living a virtuous life; that is, practicing the qualities and abilities of “manliness” (The “vir” in “virtues” means “man”). Virtue is much more than moral perfection and has more to do with personal character, integrity. The big question is did they find it? Were they achieve what they were after? What about those who followed in their footsteps? 

THE TRUTH

Franklin in his autobiography wrote that his project was more difficult than he imagined and that it
takes more than conviction to arrive at his goal. There must be a certain kind of strength and a unique method to accomplishing virtue. Edwards prefaced his Resolutions with one sentence, confessing that he is powerless to do anything without God’s help. The evidence of his personal struggle in practicing virtuous living is evidenced by the constant revision of his own “Resolutions,” which grew to the grand total of 70.

Difficult to say at this point how this will all turn out. Just crossing the 50 year mark in my own life, I am still on the road to growing as a man. But in one sense, that is key, isn’t it? Remaining a lifelong learner, which I am. I have nothing figured out or perfected--so I make no claims of achievement nor do I expect to understand virtue by the end of the month. Additionally, by no means do to I intend to practice, improve upon or critique the resolutions and methods established by Edwards or Franklin. I simply desire to be inspired by their influence and perhaps explore other aspects of what it means to be a man over this course of time.

All I am able to propose at this point is my intention to share what I learn this month.

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