Is Jesus Enough?

It seems that my life runs in chapters with themes very often. I will find that a particular theme seems to rise to the top during particular seasons of my life. Over and over again, I find myself hearing similar things and I think I’d be an idiot not to pay attention.

Lately, the biggest theme to me has to do with who we are as followers of Christ on the earth. Anyone who grew up in the church may be familiar with a hymn called, “This World Is Not My Home.” Throughout Scripture, there is an overwhelming sense of exile among the people of God. There is a constant wandering, a constant displacement, a constant discomfort of never quite fitting in. Any of you who can relate to that?

Despite that “never quite fitting in” feeling, followers of Christ are not to gravitate towards assimilation into the ways of the world but are also not to gravitate towards withdrawal or isolationism. The book of Jeremiah speaks to the exiles in Babylon and gives clear instructions around chapter 29 as to how these exiles are to live. In fact, there is an oft misquoted verse from this chapter which gains a much grander meaning when taken in context with the chapter, book, and context.

Not only are Christ followers to feel this discomfort of never quite being at home or fitting in, but they also need their all, their everything to come from one place alone: Christ. Is Jesus enough? If you had nothing else, would Jesus be enough for you?

It’s a tough question that I have wrestled with over and over in the last few weeks. I believe Jesus is enough for salvation. I believe Jesus is enough to bring me an abundant life. But do I believe that if I lost everything that I would be content in Jesus alone?

Our westernized version of Christianity has a way of promoting a “Christ Plus” approach towards Christianity. We’re happy with Christ but we also want other things and we generally put them alongside Jesus, maybe never articulating it but certainly demonstrating it with our lives. We’re okay at finding contentment in Jesus when our families are fine and healthy, when we maintain our jobs, when we get along with the neighbors, when our 401K is performing well, and when everything seems to be going our way. We consider that to be the “abundant life” and feel that it’s not a privilege or a gracious gift but rather a God-given right. We’re wrong.

Years ago, Keith Green wrote a song called “I Pledge My Head To Heaven.” He sang about giving up the things that he loved the most, his family, for the sake of the Gospel. His sole desire was to give his all to Christ with no distractions. He did not want it to be “Christ Plus” other things, he did not want to find that his contentment was found in Christ AND in other things, but only in Christ alone. Years after he wrote that song, his life was snuffed out in a plane crash.

This theme emerged again to me as I sat down to read a book called “True Spirituality” by Francis Schaeffer. He speaks of the centrality of death, not that we should focus or be consumed by death, but that we might realize that following after Christ is a daily dying to one’s self, a laying down of selfish desires in order that God might be glorified. Schaeffer seems to have been a prophet ahead of his time whose words speak truth decades after they were written.

So I’m wondering, is Jesus enough? Can I find my contentment in him alone? Do I believe that he is enough? Am I willing to lay down my life, take up my cross, and follow him daily? Or does it only happen when it seems convenient for me? These are tough questions with which to wrestle and I need to spend some more time pondering an honest answer.

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Facing the Past

I’m quickly approaching the three year anniversary of my mom’s death. As the day approaches, I can feel anxiety and other emotions begin to rise within me, recalling the events not only of the day but the days leading up to that final day. Once you have experienced loss and once you have seen a loved one suffering, images are burned on your brain and no matter how hard you try, it’s really hard to excise them from your mind.

Currently, there is a dear woman within my church who has been struggling with cancer for a number of years. The doctors have tried experimental treatments and everything has come up short. Over the last few months and weeks, it’s been incredibly difficult for me to watch her downward progression. She is a strong woman with an incredible spirit. She is a fighter, a warrior of sorts, who has endured so much and, yet, her demeanor and countenance have hardly seemed shaken as she has faced reality with her head held high.

I have struggled immensely when I have seen her on Sunday mornings. I love this woman, she is a dear sister in Christ, a godly example to her peers and all those who are younger as well. I have found myself torn as to whether or not to go speak to her. I know that might sound harsh, but understand the images and emotions that are conjured up within me when I catch a glimpse of her frail body. This once strong woman has been beaten down, just like my mother was, and although three years is a long time, it’s hard to separate my own experience from the reality that sits in front of me.

When this dear sister breathes her last breath, it will be a difficult day for me. I’ve never been one to shy away from asking hard questions. I’m also smart enough to know that every answer doesn’t have adequate answers. I’ve struggled with faithful and godly people being afflicted by the ravages of cancer while others whose attitudes and behavior are hardly becoming seem to hang around forever. Trust me, I’ve often wondered if those filled with the most piss and spite have somehow discovered a secret elixir that acts as a preservative, keeping them on earth longer. Not that I would wish for anyone’s death, but the injustice seems nearly ironic, nearly psalmic to me……the evil prevail while the godly perish.

Death is hard, but as a follower of Christ, there is hope beyond what we see. That hope sustains, it propels us forward. The path is not easy, it’s not fun, but it’s necessary. Amidst the difficulty, the question “why” continues to pound my brain, and as that question flows back and forth through the echoes of my mind, I continue to come back to Jesus’ words in John 12:24, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Somehow, when a seed dies, it brings life. Somehow, out of one dead thing comes the life of many.

I know the impact that my mother had on so many people and I know a little of the impact that this dear woman in my church has had on so many people. In death, both of these women will have pointed to the One whom they have served with their lives. In death, they will continue to act as a witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, testifying to the abundant life that they received, not for the present only, but for the future and eternity. It doesn’t seem fair or even just, but somewhere lurking in the eternal perspective of this all, there is purpose and meaning in it. I might not fully know it today, tomorrow, or some time from now, but now, I only see in part, one day I will see fully, without distortion or distraction. That will be a day that I will look forward to, and in the meantime, I will simply press on.

In Summer

Summer. Long days full of all kinds of activities. Running through the sprinkler, swimming in the pool, riding bikes all over town. Nights spent catching fireflies or playing flashlight tag throughout the neighborhood. It seems that so much of the spirit of youth can be captured in memories and thoughts of summertime.

I remember summer days when I felt that the world was completely open in front of me, waiting for me to wrangle it and make out of it whatever I wanted. I remember days spent collecting cans and bottles to redeem for a nickel a piece. That was my first unofficial part-time job.

While some people can’t stand the heat and humidity, I’ll take it over the cold any day. There’s nothing like sweating so much that your clothes soak through. Then, you step into the oasis of an air conditioned room, covered by cool, refreshing air that restores and rejuvenates, preparing you to once again face what once seemed oppressive as you walk through the door into the outside world.

When I was young, the summer seemed to be a “pause” for me, a time to stop moving forward in rat-like fashion and collect my thoughts, regroup, pull myself together. It almost felt like a “timeout” from life while I had a little fun. Somehow, I’ve managed to maintain a little bit of that feeling as I’ve gotten older.

Obviously, things change. It’s not like one can just stop showing up to work in the summer months and expect to remain gainfully employed. But it’s not so much about the time as it is about the attitude as you go through the summer. Work goes on, but it doesn’t seem to feel quite as hectic and urgent as it does from the months of September through May. Responsibilities are still there, as are deadlines and goals, but somehow the urgency of certain things doesn’t feel quite as…….well, urgent.

Laying with my 7 year old the other night, he hugged me and I told him that there would be a day when he wouldn’t want to do that any longer. He just kind of smiled at me with that look that said, “Whatever you say, Daddy!” I hugged and kissed my father until the moment that he breathed his last breath. I can only hope that I can instill in my children the same affection that my mom and dad instilled in me.

But lying there with my son was a reminder to me of how fast time goes. I don’t expect that he’ll want me to lay with him as he drifts off to sleep when he’s fifteen years old……and if he does, there might be a some people who just think that’s weird. The moments that are before me are unique, ready and waiting to be seized. After all, those moments won’t be there forever.

Yet, somehow on summer days, especially when we are young, we feel that those days will last forever. Although they don’t, we can seize every moment and make a memory out of as many of them as we can. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my summers. I want to do whatever I can to make sure that my kids can make the best memories possible with their summers as well.

So, while I can’t play hooky from work for the next two and a half months, I can breathe a little bit while I go about my day. I can start a little earlier and leave a little earlier, seizing those moments that will melt away like the popsicles in the summer heat. I can kick back and watch my children drink in the innocence and joy of the summer. Sure, you can call it living vicariously through them, but if I’m ever going to live vicariously through my children, I think the summertime’s a good time to do it!

Time Away

Time away is always a good thing. It’s good to get away to clear your head, to change your surroundings, to change your perspective. It can be helpful, especially when that time is full of restoring, recharging, and life-giving activity. Time away can prepare you for diving back into the fray of everyday life, of facing the pressures that come on a regular basis.

At the same time, time away can be a strain on family. Spouses are tasked with single-parenting for a period of time, children who are not old enough to understand this absence may be confused, and most likely other various impacts on the family.

My seminary education was done by distance. I had to go away for 2 weeks every year. I also was gone from my family for one night a week during that time as I traveled to a class 2 hours from my home. I remember the night before I left for Minnesota, where my classes were held, my wife was pregnant with our second child and we were up in Connecticut with our family.

I had never been away from my wife and 18 month old son for more than an evening. As I stood in the room where my son was staying, holding him in my arms, I began to weep. I wept because of the gravity of the moment. I was going back to school after a nearly 10 year hiatus. I knew none of my classmates. My background had been in engineering and this was going to be a significantly different degree. I wept mostly because I would be away and would be missing moments with my family.

My wife and I had made a commitment at the beginning of the seminary process that I would not be gone for more than 2 weeks a year. That was the best decision that I ever made. While the 2 weeks away were difficult, I grew to appreciate them and even benefit from them. I grew to know many of my classmates and the time away truly became life-giving, restoring, and recharging for me, so much so that time outside of class felt like the more significant time than the time spent within the classroom.

This past year, I have been away from my family a lot. I realize that statement is relative considering that what is “a lot” to me is normal, average, or typical to many others. The time away has not been easy, but I think that it’s been beneficial. This recent trip away, my middle child broke his arm when he fell off the monkey bars (those @#$% monkey bars). It was hard not being there, but squeezing him and hugging him will feel that much better when we reunite.

Home is a good place to land. It always feels good to be back there. No matter how many times I go away, there is nothing else that can bring me joy and peace like coming home again. While I’m grateful for time away, there’s nothing like time at home. I think that the old adage still stands true, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Filing A Grievance

I grew up on a fairly long cul-de-sac where most everyone knew each other. There were 12 houses there when we got there and about 15 or so by the end of the time my parents lived there. There was no neighborhood association. There were no membership fees. There were just neighbors.

When my wife and I first got married, we lived on a cul-de-sac with about 6 houses on it. We didn’t know our neighbors quite as well, but there was no neighborhood association. No membership fees.

Our second house was on a cul-de-sac again. There was an association with fees. We knew our neighbors and still keep up with some of them years later. It was a neat community.

When we moved to our current house, it was in a neighborhood with an association, fees, pools, and grievances. We found this out early on during our time there.

Less than a year after we moved there, we had our second child. I had started seminary a few months before he was born and was traveling for school, getting accustomed to my new job, and trying to keep up with the responsibilities that were required of me in all of the various roles that I held.

One afternoon, I went to the mailbox to see what wonders awaited. As I thumbed through the various flyers and junk mail that had come, I came upon an envelope that looked somewhat official. I knew that it had to be something more significant than the rest of the mail by its appearance, so I quickly opened it up. Lurking inside within the envelope was my introduction to grievances, someone had filed one against me because weeds had grown up in our landscape beds around our fence.

There was a number on the letter which I called. The person with whom I spoke had driven out themselves to see our “infraction” and had noticed an “It’s a boy!” balloon tied to our mailbox. That was a pretty clear sign to them that there were other things going on in my life. As we spoke, she was very gracious and made sure that the time frame they had given me would work for me. Despite the frustrating situation, I hung up the phone feeling like I had spoken to someone who had cared.

As I thought more about it, I wondered why the person who had filed the grievance hadn’t come to my door. Why had they chosen to remain anonymous? Why had they not found out what was going on in my life first? Why hadn’t they offered to help out?

Recently, a neighbor of ours had some grievances filed against them. The bus stop conversation one day was about grievances, and it brought back to life all of the thoughts that I had had when the grievance had come against me.

Thinking more about it has helped me to understand one important aspect to life that we often forget as we frantically move from event to event to event: there’s always something going on beneath the surface. It’s helped me to realize that if there’s evidence of neglect or something wrong on the outside, chances are pretty good that there is something deeper inside that needs to be addressed.

How many times have I driven by a neighbor’s yard and looked in frustration at something only to find out that they have been out of work for 6 months or that their child has been very sick or that they have lost a loved one? How many times have I jumped to the outward conclusion without digging deeper to find out what the cause of the problem really is?

It’s easy to anonymously file a grievance against someone because you don’t like how things look. What’s a little bit harder is taking the time to check in with them, to see what’s going on in their lives. What’s a little bit harder is finding out why the thing that makes me mad is actually happening. When we do that, when we take the time, it’s worth so much more than being able to look at weedless yards or mowed grass or perfectly painted houses.

Frankly, I would much rather take the time to see what’s going on in the house than worry so much about what it looks like on the outside. Things could be stellar on the outside and broken on the inside, but we won’t know if we don’t take the time to check.

Cutting the Turkey…and Other Responsibilities

2014-06-08 18.56.19Last week, I pulled out my dad’s 8mm projector so that I could show my kids some old home movies (although I guess I should call it my projector since my dad’s not here anymore). There were so many to choose from, I decided that we would watch the ones labeled “Disney World” since we’re taking a trip there in a few months.

We settled into my sons’ room to watch the film. I had hung a white sheet down from the top bunk of the bunk beds so that we had something to project the film on. As the film rolled, my kids were somewhat fascinated by the images that were projected on the sheet before them. The only sound that they heard, other than their own laughter, was the sound of the chuck-a chuck-a chuck-a of the projector as it whirled around and around, displaying images from nearly forty years ago.

In its infancy, Disney World looked different than it does today and the people in the images looked different too. As I watched images of myself, my brother, and others in my family roll across the screen/sheet, I began to smile as I remembered spending evenings with my mom, dad, and brother watching these same images so many years before. We would laugh and joke about what we saw and enjoy time together. Dad was always the one who would load the camera, forbidding anyone else from touching it. He was the keeper of the films, so to speak.

As my family sat on the floor taking in all of the images flashing before them, I was struck by a stunning realization: I was now the keeper of the films, I was in charge, the torch had been passed. I found myself reacting to my kids in a similar fashion to the way that my father had reacted to me and my brother when we were their age. I found myself so consumed with the responsibility of feeding the film into the projector, of being careful with the fragile film, of making sure that the presentation was as clear as possible and that everyone was paying attention. Yes, the torch had been passed.

When I go through certain holidays now, I fondly recall memories of yesterday, when my mom and dad were both still around. I remember the traditions that we celebrated, some of which have been passed on and others which were put away like the boxes of ornaments after the Christmas tree’s been taken down. Now, it’s my responsibility to pass on the torch. Whether I liked it or not, the torch has been passed to me, it doesn’t matter that I think it was passed prematurely. It doesn’t matter that I wish Dad could still do all of these things. It doesn’t matter that I can’t get back yesterday. What matters is that there is still today and possibly tomorrow.

I remember Dad cutting the turkey on Christmas. He would use the electric knife that my mother had been preserving in the box in which it had come, keeping it just like new like so many in her generation. I remember how carefully and delicately he would slice that turkey. Now it’s my turn, the knife’s in my hands and I’m the one who gets to cut the turkey, I’m the one who gets to let my kids see just how to do it. I might not do it the same way, and I might not even do it in such a way that Dad would approve if he were still here, but it’s my way and it’s my turn to pay it forward, to pass it on.

In this day and age when kids are consumed with things that flash and beep, things that shoot and use WiFi, there is something lost every day among the things that used to be. Somehow, we need to pass the torch, we need to carry on traditions. Some of them will stick, others won’t. We can’t be so consumed with what’s being passed on so much as the process of passing. Teaching kids to fish with a hook and a worm. Helping them ride their bike without training wheels. Setting up a sprinkler in the yard on a sweltering hot day. Teaching them how to watch movies that are as old as their dad.

When we take time to do these things, we make memories. They might not like everything that they learn, they’ll wade through it all themselves, but what a privilege to share it together with your kids. After all, they won’t stay kids forever.

The Road We Travel

windingpath

Life is full of milestones and bookends. At the end of one path begins another. At the end of every chapter, another one starts.

This past weekend, my family and I attended three separate graduation parties. All three of the graduates were oldest children, the first ones out of the nest and on to college. It’s the ending of a chapter and the starting of another one. In some ways, it can even be a change of genre as the mood and tone of the story seems to change. In the blink of an eye, as so many have said before, these once little children have grown up and are now beginning to go about to be who they are.

Parents spend all of their children’s youth trying to prepare them for what is to come and it seems an almost helpless feeling to simply let them go, to trust that what you have instilled in them will stick, will take root and flourish. It’s a matter of trust, and for those who have faith in God, a matter of prayer as well.

The path on which we travel can be formative……if we allow it to be so. It can shape us and form us, change us and grow us, but we need to be willing to embark on the journey, no matter where that journey may lead us, how that path may twist and turn.

My mom and I were very close, and even during the tumultuous times of the teenage years, we had a special bond. I remember her sharing a poem with me that has never left my mind throughout the years. It’s a great reminder of God’s hand in the midst of the journey on which we find ourselves. As we travel down the road, following the path before us, it may not always look like how we thought it would or should, but we need to trust that God, in his sovereignty, doesn’t make mistakes.

My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad to know,
He makes no mistakes,

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way,

Though the night be dark and it may seem,
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He makes no mistake,

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim,
But come what may, I’ll simply trust,
And leave it all to Him,

For by and by the mist will lift,
And plain it all He’ll make,
Through all the way, though dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

– A.M. Overton, 1932

Lucky 13

Carrie and Jon wedding bubblesToday, my wife and I celebrate 13 years of marriage together.

As I look back over the pictures from that hot and humid day in Woodstock, Connecticut all those years ago, it’s hard to not get emotional as I see so many faces of loved ones who aren’t here anymore. Life has changed since we got married. Friends have changed since we got married. We have changed since we got married.

A little less than 3 months after we got married, the world changed on September 11th, 2001. It’s interesting to think about our honeymoon in Bermuda and how it would have been different had it come a few months later.

We’ve wanted to celebrate our anniversaries more significantly than we have. We’ve wanted to take another trip, but life hasn’t afforded us that privilege. The last three years have been a roller coaster, not between us, but in our family, in our church, in our life.

Through it all, I can’t think of a better person with whom to spend this time. When I need a laugh, she is there. When I need to cry, there is her shoulder. When I need a gentle word, she speaks it. When I need silence, she offers it.

She has endured much through these 13 years. She married an engineer who turned into a pastor. She left her family behind to move states away. She finished her Master’s degree by distance and travel, enduring much of the home stretch through the sickness of pregnancy. She supported my seminary education and ordination process and made it possible for me to be gone for studies and classes.

In some ways, it feels like yesterday, in other ways, as I look back over this landscape of our lives, it feels like 13 years. God has done work in both of us, we are different, I think and hope that we are better.

Yes, today we celebrate. God has made my world brighter because of who he’s given me. God has made me stronger because of the training partner that I have had. God has made me gentler because of the precious and tender gift that he has given me through my wife.  We’ve been blessed with three great kids that always keep us on our toes, pushing us, challenging us, and making us laugh.

I’m looking forward to celebrating more with you in the future.  Today, here’s to you and all that you do!

With all of my love!

50 Things You Need to Know About Heaven – A Book Review

50 Things You Need to Know About HeavenAmong the questions that come up for those who consider themselves to be followers of Christ, it seems that questions about Heaven seem to top the list. I have always considered those questions in my own life, ever since I was a young boy. With the growing popularity of books like “90 Minutes in Heaven” and “Heaven Is For Real,” more questions have been raised among the Christian community as to the details about Heaven. Into this environment, Dr. John Hart offers his book titled, “50 Things You Need to Know About Heaven.”

First of all, Hart is writing this book for people who consider themselves followers of Christ. This is not a book to give people who are considering whether or not Jesus or heaven is real. Hart does not try to convince people of this but considers that they are already there if they have picked up this book to read it. That being said, Hart relies heavily on the Bible to support the answers to the 50 questions that he offers as the headings of the 50 chapters within this book.

Hart does a good job sticking with what has explicitly been written in Scripture and offers little speculation. While there may be some speculation there, Hart does his best to base even those speculations upon what’s been written within the Bible rather than offering his own opinions.

Among the questions that Hart addresses are where is Heaven? Who will go to Heaven? Will there be physical bodies in Heaven? Will we know each other in Heaven? Is Jesus in Heaven right now? These questions along with many others are the ones that Hart chooses to address, and he does a good job of dealing with them.

Hart dispels many of the traditional views of Heaven that have been wrongly embraced by the church such as the idea that we will dwell on clouds, float around in robes of white, and strum on harps all day long. Hart even dispels the notion that Heaven is actually otherworldly, enforcing beliefs that have also been espoused by the likes of N.T. Wright that Heaven will actually come down to earth in the form of the New Jerusalem.

One thing that I appreciate about Hart’s book is that he does not try to resolve the tensions of Scripture where Scripture does not specifically speak. While there are many things written in the Bible about Heaven, there are also many things left unsaid and Hart does not try to fill in the blank with anything other than what has been offered within the pages of Scripture.

Another resource that Hart offers is a section called “For Further Study” at the end of each chapter. Hart has listed out various Scripture passages that the reader can go to for further research and study. Instead of simply giving and answer and imploring the reader to simply assent to what he has written, Hart encourages the reader to find out for himself/herself based upon the passages that Hart has found helpful.

If you are looking for a good and simple resource that can help in pointing you in the direction of some answers about Heaven based upon what’s written in the Bible, I would highly recommend Hart’s book. It’s not exhaustive and doesn’t delve into heady theological language, but it’s a worthwhile resource for those who want to gently wade into a topic that has been both controversial and intriguing, especially in recent years.

(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Bethany House Publishers. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)

The Rise of the Underdog

cantor bratTo locals, Ashland, Virginia is known as, “The Center of the Universe.” It’s beginning to seem like that to the rest of the country after this past Tuesday’s primary. Prior to this, the last time Ashland made national news may have been when Mitt Romney passed through on his campaign tour. Before that, it could have been when the D.C. sniper traveled this far south on I-95 to continue his spree of terror to the parking lot of a Ponderosa restaurant just off the highway in Ashland. Now, some people may be wondering, “who is Dave Brat? and, “where is Randolph-Macon College?”

Once upon a time, I used to live in a state where my vote didn’t make much of a difference. Living in a Blue State was not always fun and exciting for someone with more conservative tendencies like me. We mostly avoided political phone calls and campaigns because our state was a deadlock win and there didn’t seem to be any point in spending money to convince the already convinced (hmmmm, now there’s a lesson that churches need to learn, but I digress).

When I moved to Virginia, I discovered that I was living in a “swing state.” People’s votes actually mattered. Some elections could go either way, so there was always a reason for a phone call, a personal visit, or a mailer to get your vote. It was kind of a new experience for me and I can’t say that I have always enjoyed it. The barrage of phone calls was a little overwhelming during the last major election for governor.

This past Tuesday, an incumbent Republican congressional candidate was unseated by a little known liberal arts professor supported by the Tea Party. While there are ramifications to this that extend to both sides of the political spectrum, to me, there was a renewed faith instilled in me that there is still hope for the underdog. When you take away the voice of people who want to be heard, they will still find a way to be heard, whenever and however they can.

I’ve never been a big fan of politics but I’ve followed them enough to know that we have issues within our country. Some think that the unseating of Eric Cantor will lead to a stronger line being drawn between the parties making it even more difficult for bi-partisan relations. While this may be the case, compromise is something that requires give on both sides, when one side continues to give, it becomes less about compromise and more about manipulation. Relationships are give and take and that has to be the case even in relationships between political parties.

I have no idea what will happen come November, but for now, I’m smiling at the fact that there was shock and dismay because someone who thought that they had an election, “in the bag” has been found to be overconfident. I’m smiling because it proved to me that people can still let their voice be heard, as uncomfortable and unpopular as that voice may be. All this might not amount to nothing in the future, but for now, I think there’s a whole lot that we can learn when we see history made right before our eyes. I, personally, am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.