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Blog: Tom Job

A Note From Tom: April 15th, 2011

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Hope you’re having a day that is as beautiful as this spring weather! While I’m thinking about it, I hope your heart is blooming with praise like this dogwood in front of me, hope your joy is budding and blossoming like these tulips I’m looking at, and I hope your spirit is singing like these robins chirping up in the tree beside me (and hopefully sounding better than the frogs croaking in the ditch across the street!)

I didn’t realize it ‘til the other day, but Tuesday was the 150th anniversary of the first shots of the American Civil War at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Wow. It kind of snuck up on us! Not on all of us, though.

Some folks have been looking forward to this for a long time.

There are thousands of people who love to dress up like Civil War soldiers from the North or South and spend the weekend pretending they’re fighting the real thing again. “Civil War reenactments” are huge this year! Hundreds are expected at Charleston for this week’s anniversary. George Wunderlich, a re-enactor and executive director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Md said, "Among a lot of re-enactors I'm talking to, this is it! This is the anniversary they have been waiting for!

It ain’t cheap to be a pretend you’re a twenty-three-plus-one-hundred-and-fifty year old Yank or Reb! $1,400 for the basic outfit is about as cheap as it gets. Some of those who tramp around old battlefields making believe it’s the first time all over again, are super serious about being as authentic as possible…down to the underwear of the period. Well, maybe not wearing the actual original under-drawers, but some just like ‘em. After a century and a half, the originals probably wouldn’t do you much good…

The reenactors who really try to be as authentic as possible are called, “progressives”, or “stich-counters”. I get the second name but “progressives” seems like a weird name for someone trying to live their great-great grandpappy. I would have thought progressives were folks who try to live like the Jetsons.

I don’t know how easy it is to be really authentic as a Civil War reenactor. I remember reading that over 60% of the deaths of Civil War soldiers wasn’t from musket balls but diarrhea. I guess the really serious reenactors have to put Milk of Magnesia in the ol’ field canteen before heading out!

I guess it’s a really fun hobby for those who like that stuff. But I bet if the ones who fought the first time, knew it was going on, they would think it was really weird. Or really sad. 6,000,000 Americans died. Misery and grief filled our land. There was almost no home or family untouched by tragedy. For them it would be unthinkable that, once the cannons stopped and peace prevailed, people would want to pretend, if only for the weekend, that Americans were enemies of Americans again.

Sometimes I think that Lent is a wonderful season. It’s a time to reflect and ask myself, “Am I walking this walk?...Am I taking my relationship with You, Lord, as seriously as you take Your relationship with me?...Is there anything You need to tell me…about me?” Any time is good for those questions. Folks just ask them more this time of year. But sometimes at Lent, churches are draped in black. Sometimes God’s people try to relive…reenact…the days and hours of our Lord’s suffering…Lent is a time to walk the “Via Crucis” that He walked with His cross through Jerusalem…a time to try to relive the darkness of the days and hours before our Jesus ended with His pain and blood our enmity with God….a time to remember what it was like before we were reconciled to Him.

Of course, it’s all so that believers in Jesus all over the world can relive…reenact…on Easter Sunday morning, the joy of knowing, believing, and having a risen Savior and a new beginning with Him!

It’s just that…I don’t know…

…I don’t know if we should ever have to pretend things so that we can recapture the feeling of surprising wonder and amazing happiness that Jesus is alive and ours! I think that’s supposed to be, not a yearly feeling, but a daily…an everyday…feeling! He IS alive! I want to celebrate that…and feel the joy of it!...every day of the year!

And I have enough trouble keeping out of the glooms without ever wanting to pretend Jesus hadn’t yet died for me and risen in light, power, and triumph! I don’t really want to ever relive…to reenact…a time when I wasn’t God’s own child, reconciled and in love with Him, my only hope in this difficult world!

Sometimes, on tough days, I have a hard enough time believing deep in my heart it’s all really true…I never want to pretend, even for a second, that it isn’t!

Plus, if I reenacted those sad hippy days when I didn’t know Jesus, the clothes I wore were more ridiculous than a Civil War suit!