Keith Wishum: Time to get started
Published 7:00 am Sunday, May 24, 2015
This is a tale of the one that got away. Except in this case, he didn’t really get away so much as he was sent away.
Barney, as he was named, was a lobster. A very big lobster, and very old. He was so old that London chef William Cooper couldn’t bear to boil him. Instead, the kind-hearted cook gave the live crustacean to the London Aquarium, which, in turn, set Barney free in the waters of Plymouth Sound in southwestern England.
It’s not that the chef has an objection to cooking lobsters. He makes his living that way. And Cooper certainly found nothing wrong with Barney. He was a fine lobster. In fact, it was what was right with Barney that spared him from the cook pot. Barney measured an incredible 3 feet and 1 inch long!
“He was too big and beautiful,” said Cooper, explaining why he decided not to cook the lobster. Because of his size, marine experts estimated Barney to be about 60 years old. As surprising as that sounds, they said that he could live another 10 years yet – if he can stay out of the lobster pots.
Mr. Cooper is right. There is a certain respect due to a creature that can, against all odds and harsh conditions, survive so long and grow to such stature. How many predators did Barney elude to survive so long? How many harsh winters did he endure? It would have been unseemly to end such a noble life on someone’s dinner plate.
It is also true that a certain respect is due to humans who live long and grow much. Knowledge and wisdom can only be acquired slowly, amassed through experience and learning over many years. In a culture catered to youth, the respect paid to Barney serves as a healthy reminder of our need to honor those who have endured the harsh realities of life.
The wise king Solomon wrote long ago, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31). Think about that today. Notice those around you who wear the crown, and make it a point to be kind to them. If they have lived wisely enough to live long, they deserve your respect.
Barney, a lowly lobster, got his moment of glory. Why not give the same to some aged veteran of life whom you know?
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