03 July 2017

Pennsylvania Summers

 When you can't stand the heat—

Constitutional Convention, Summer, Pennsylvania 1787
When a job has to be done,

And the burden is yours, by your failure or your choice,

When you've sat all summer in a Pennsylvania hall without air conditioning, and flies buzz 'round your wig,

When you've marched the uphill Pennsylvania miles, and the object still seems far away,

When gray sky and triple digits bear down on you from above,

Lewis A. Armistead, Confederate Army
And ball and canister fire bear down on you from the front,

When you watch your strength and numbers and resources drop by ones, fives, scores,

And find you have nothing left;

When those around you can't agree on a solution,

And you can't come up with one on your own,

And outside voices naysay or clamor for the answer,

And the enemy, whatever it may be, physical, metaphysical, financial, emotional, surges all around you to hedge up your way,

When your Pennsylvania summers come—

Do what they did. Finish.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Union Army
Keep your uniform on: that symbol of your rank, insignia, heritage, identity.

Don't waste time and energy looking around for someone else to blame or take control.

Drop to your knees or simply mouth a plea to Heaven.

Trust that the Great Finisher Himself hears you from above the clouds and heat and shrapnel.

Raise yourself. Square your shoulders. Then raise your pen. Raise your sword. Set your hat upon its tip.

And write. Run. Charge.

To the Constitution. To the Angle. To the victory.

Keep your dignity. Be dogged.

Be like them. 

Gettysburg, Summer, Pennsylvania, 1863
They christened the American dream and kept it alive. In Pennsylvania summers. In their uniforms. In their wigs. In their buckles. On their knees. Swords in hand. Even when they'd given what seemed like their all and could go no farther. When they couldn't stand the heat...

They finished.

That's the American dream—a people who dream big and with prayer, dignity, and doggedness, finish. Despite the heat.

That's a lesson from some great Americans. And Pennsylvania summers.

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