You know the sad thing about being human? You only get to live once, in one time. You only get to meet the people alive in your time. Out of all the people who have lived and died, we only get to meet the children of the 21st century.
Now, I believe I’ve been put in my little spot of time and space for a reason and a purpose, and there’s so many contemporary blessings (ie. living after penicillin was discovered!) … but I’d still love to be able to duck in and out of the centuries.
I want to be able to talk with people who think differently from me, not just because they have a different ethnic culture, but they are living in a different cultural era. I long to learn from their lives, to watch their battles, to cheer at their successes.
The good news, for any of you who share the same longings, is we can! There are these handy little time-travel portals which you can hold in one hand, while you nurse a cup of tea in the other. They’re called biographies… and here are seven friends I’ve met through this every day magic!
DISCLAIMER: I’m not sure if ‘friends’ is the right term… but ‘heroes’ sounds a bit hagiographic, and ‘acquaintances’ too boring… so friends it is.
Seven dead friends (and what I’ve learned from them)
1. C. S. Lewis
Thank you for remaining down to earth, even in your most complicated philosophy, and embracing the human existence with such joy and humour.
2. David Brainerd
Thank you for persevering in your desire to find joy in Jesus alone, even in the midst of your mental and physical health struggles.
3. Martin Luther
Thank you for your boisterous passion for the gospel, and your fearfulness and reverence before the written word of God.
4. Mary Slesser
Thank you for your fearless courage, from the slums of Scotland to the plains of Africa, and for being the first single, female missionary I met.
5. Frances Ridley Havergal
Thank you for showing that a quiet life can be a life lived to the full. Your words still touch me today, and I named my pet mouse after you.
6. Gladys Aylward
Thank you for showing me what utter dependence on God in the face of very real fear and danger looks like.
7. Thomas Clarkson
Thank you for choosing to obey God’s call even when it was inconvenient, and giving it all your energy, all your emotion, all your career. Thank you for persevering in humbly giving the glory to every one else before yourself. Thank you for changing the world.
If you want to find out more about any of these dead friends, a quick google will turn up multiple biographies… for all except Thomas Clarkson. For an in-print biography of him, you’ll have to wait just one month. Ekk! To make sure you keep in the loop, sign up below.