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The poet Edwin Arlington Robinson has written a poem, “Richard Cory.” It is about a rich man schooled in grace, imperially thin, who glittered when he walked. People looked at him with envy, ever cursing their own meager crust of bread. But one night Mr. Cory went home and put a bullet in his head.
Who wouldn’t want to be King David of Israel who killed the giant Goliath, who brought the sacred ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem? Aye, we’d love to have penned his psalms and had our poetry still read thousands of years later. But would we like to have his bad marriage? Shared his moral failure with Bathsheba? Grieved over the untimely death of at least four sons?
The Bible is full of biography. Each touts the victories, the character, the joys of Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Joseph, Mary, Peter, and Paul. But it explains in equal detail the confusion, the mistakes, the pain and depression crowded in between.
Many movies, gothic novels, and Facebook personas over-glamorize love. They gloss over flaws while magnifying success. And their testimony is as untrue as a photo shopped magazine cover shot of a Hollywood beauty.
Did you know Winston Churchill was voted man of the Twentieth Century for his stand against Hitler and leadership of Great Britain in World War II? But did you also know that Churchill 100 years ago in World War I hatched an ill-conceived attack on the peninsula of Gallipoli, Turkey, that cost the lives of several hundred thousand soldiers for nothing? Sir Winston had to carry that painful knowledge around with him the rest of his life.
No one get a bye. No one.
Life is real. It is unavoidable. And it is not always pretty. It includes wins and losses. Accolades as well as rejections. In people like Richard Cory. And in folks like you and me.
The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. Pastor Crotts may be reached at email@example.com.