No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. Mark 13:32-33 (NIV)
The world in which we live is a marvelous place. Do you think Orville and Wilbur Wright ever dreamed that someone could go from the beaches of Pensacola, Florida to historic Philadelphia in less than 48 hours? It took us ten hours to drive home from Pensacola, and in only two hours, I flew to Philadelphia along with the group of American History teachers whose training I have been helping to organize. In fact, it took us longer to get from our community to Tampa and wait for boarding than the whole length of the flight! We will have a week here to listen to lectures on the American Revolution and to explore the historic district on foot, but all of us history nerds were itching to get started. Almost as soon as we arrived, we put on walking shoes and headed out. Already, we have seen the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin’s grave and the outside of Betsy Ross’ house (it was closed for a private event). Mixed in with our wonder at the historical sites we saw was a retelling of the scenes from the movie, National Treasure. I don’t know how much everyday (I almost wrote normal) Americans remember about that movie, but we historians have every scene memorized and even though we knew better, couldn’t help but wonder if Ben Franklin’s spectacles were still in the tower of Independence Hall! The area around the Liberty Bell was crowded with tourists. We promised ourselves a longer visit next time, but it was getting dark and we had been warned to be inside by nightfall. We stopped at Christ Church Cemetery long enough to pay our respects to Ben Franklin and throw pennies on his grave (does anyone know why and when that ritual started?) and admire a large bust of him made out of old keys the next block over. There is so much that I want to do while I am here, but doubt that we will get to all of it. Philadelphia is the place to be if you love history. This trip is such a blessing to me. Some might say it came my way quite serendipitously, but I know that everything that happens in my life is a gift from God. I do not know why He chose to give me this treat, but will be keeping my eyes open to see what doors it might open in the future or what person or persons I might have a chance to influence as a result of it. Isn’t that really what history is all about? People making the most of the time that they are given here on earth and using it to serve others? Ben Franklin’s grave has only his name, his wife’s name (Deborah) and their date of death. Yet, he did so much for our country and our world that could never be listed on his tombstone. What about you? How will you use your time that God has gifted you with?
Note: Check back tomorrow night for pictures. Believe it or not, I forgot to take my camera out with me today!