Saturday, August 21, 2010

Words and woods

Christopher Hitchens is a many of many words. Words pour forth from his lips and fingers in a torrent of books, articles, essays, interviews, speeches, and debates.

A man who talks that much is clearly trying to leave his mark, like carving your initials in the trunk of a tree.

Yet Hitchens is also a dying atheist. Dying of cancer.

So, in the long run, what good will all those words add up to, anyway? Like carving your initials in a tree, to be felled by a logger next week.

Or like carving your initials in a tree that, over time, is overtaken by other trees. Suppose, three hundred years after a boy carved his initials in a tree, in what is now an overgrown orchard, which the forest reclaimed, I stumble across the tree. I can still make out the faint initials in the bark. But the boy who carved them is long gone. No one remembers who they stand for. The few who ever knew have come and gone, just like the owner of those initials.

By contrast, a Christian can truly leave his mark. If he brings a friend to Christ, or if he raises a child who grows into the faith, that will leave its mark for all eternity. That tree will never be felled. That tree will never be lost in a forest full of trees.

1 comment:

  1. "He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
    that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
    In all that he does, he prospers."

    I shall pray for Christopher.