Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Trivial pursuits

I deferred replying a question last week's writer raised twice and even thought I would ignore it. The question:

It's the good job, the nice car, the boat, the great house, the state-of-the-art camera or computer, etc., that makes life just "unmiserable" enough to hang on to. Am I correct?

And in the follow-up, some stress was added:

And since my original question went unanswered, I'll repeat it, and your input is wanted: Is it the good job, the nice car, the great house, the state-of-the-art camera or computer etc. the things that make your stay here on earth just a little less "miserable?" Is one's level of misery directly connected to one's position or station in life and the ability to posess the "toys" that make us content to "stay a while longer" or eager to say: "Beam me up Scottie...I've had enough?"

My initial reaction was I wouldn't answer it because some one that materialistic, with such base motives, isn't worth the effort. But then I had some second thoughts of my own. And though it's tragic, it's most likely true; "things" probably do give some people, maybe evan a lot of people, motivation to keep on living. I started to write, "I never discuss sports," as the beginning of a discourse on what I think is worth considering legitimate motivation or, to put this idea more philosophically, "legitimate will to live." But then I realized I'd be lying, sort of. The last time someone asked me about the Steelers-Eagles game, my answer was, "no, I didn't see it. But," I tried to feign some enthusiasm, "I heard about it."

I would say I consider discussions about cars a waste of time, but considering the fact that I do discuss cars a lot more than I'm really motivated to do so, it wouldn't be the whole truth. I discuss cars with my sons, who are big car buffs. They can still identify most makes and models on sight, as I used to do back in my own youth, when there were far fewer manufacturers and at least at the time they seemed a lot more varied in external styling than they are these days. But we all need to make "small talk" occasionally, so I wanted to seem to be interested when someone asked me about the Steelers-Eagles game, and why I even save up questions about cars to discuss with my 30ish sons, and also discuss cars with other friends. In fact, I probably encouraged my sons' early interest in cars because it was a subject I knew more about and had more interest in than sports.

And I am something of a fan of high technology, especially some of the etoys discussed here, almost exactly a year ago. But none of these interests could hold my attention long enough to keep me alive more than a week after I'd acquire one, and I refuse to live in a state of constantly planning the next acquisition and being motivated to get more money so I can buy more and better "things." But...some people live that way. In fact, the Lord Himself discussed just that kind of people, and I first heard about that at one of the first sermons that ever "registered" to my consciousness, at a revival meeting in Nanty Glo—I believe it was in the Fire Hall, circa 1950—when I was still in elementary school. The evangelist's topic passage was Luke 12, 16-21, which I'm quoting here from the King James Version, the only one anyone was quoting in those days:

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

And besides this parable, Jesus also spoke more pointedly about avoiding being motivated by the riches of life, making it a theme in His sermon on the mount:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:19-21

So yes, I'd say many people take comfort from their toys and riches and even find them enough motivation to keep them going. But they are gods that inevitably fail.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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Vintondale Homecoming September 3-4
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New gallery: Miners Memorial
Valley Videos: 3. Twin Rocks, 2. Miners Memorial, Vintondale, 1. Vintondale strip mine
Century-old Vintondale school photos
NGHS Class of '47, new photo, yearbook page
Looking for a 1943 Nanty Glo High School yearbook

Today's chuckle

While attending a marriage seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know each other's likes and dislikes." He turned to Tom: "Can you name your wife's favorite flower?"

Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's Pillsbury, isn't it?

—Sent by Trudy Myers

Thought for today

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)

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