Having Real Vision ...
Having Real Vision . . .
As we close out 2015 and look forward to 2016 we are reminded that this is the time for our New Year resolutions.
Among the top 10 resolutions each January we find: lose weight, get organized, spend less, focus more on family, quit unhealthy habits, and several other regulars. All of these are worthy and there is nothing wrong in pursuing any one or even all of them. However, we would respectfully ask you to consider one other possibility among your resolutions this coming year . . . join with us in a real vision for the future.
Well known lecturer and historian, George Grant, shares an example of this kind of vision in his story about the New College Dining Hall, in Oxford England. New College was founded in 1379. Many would recognize the Hall’s beautiful construction from its similarity Oxford’s Christ Church dining hall, where numerous Harry Potter movie scenes were filmed. And, to give you an idea of its size, the New College hall was built using wooden beams that are up to 2 feet square and 45 feet long.
Unfortunately, in the mid 1800’s the college council discovered that the hall’s great beams were beginning to rot away. As the council looked at the needs for repair they learned that the beams were made from a particular type of oak found in the eastern part of the world. Sadly, the expense of shipping the type and size of lumber needed to replace the beams was too costly, and, reluctantly, they determined that their best course of action was to tear down the New College Hall.
As the story goes, a school custodian learned of the council’s decision and it reminded him of some old documents he had once seen. With this in mind he ventured down to the old college library and pulled out some of the college’s original architectural plans. Taking the plans to the council he said, “There’s ye beams.” The answer had been just outside their windows the entire time.
You see, the old plans included the planting of the college gardens and orchards, including a large number of the eastern oak trees used to create the large beams. In addition, the plans themselves noted that the beams would need to be replaced in approximately 500 years.
Now, some historians have said that this story has been “infused” with anecdotal information over the course of time and that the truth is not nearly as romantic as it sounds. For instance, some argue that the lands with the trees were purchased after the fact, yet they still admit that it was common practice for foresters at the time to plan out the extended use of the trees for construction.
Regardless of the smaller details, the lesson learned is the same. There was a time when society considered the effects of its decisions far into the future and planned for its needs well in advance.
The thinking was critical and unselfish. The builders of New Church considered a generation 500 years down the road, a generation they would never know or see, but still felt a responsibility to protect. They had real vision. In all honesty, when was the last time we considered what our actions today might do for someone in 2516 let alone 2016?
Unfortunately we have been conditioned by modern times to think of our wants as needs, our relationships in the form texts and pixels, our value as a credit limit — and rarely about tomorrow. While this brings us pleasure today, it does little in the way of investing in something bigger than ourselves with an intrinsic value that is measured in virtue for posterity versus the fulfillment of our desire, which is fleeting at best. Quite frankly, it is this type of long-term vision that we find in the Cross and is the example God has set for us in all that we do.
With these thoughts in mind we have created St. Francis College Preparatory High School. This is our pursuit for real vision . . . something that is Christ centered, with true purpose and intrinsic good; something that will outlast us our children, our grandchildren and even our great-grandchildren.
Whether it be as a parent or friend, please join us in 2016 as we pursue a real vision for the future of our community and society and please know that we wish you a very blessed and Happy New Year!
“Where there is no vision, the people perish . . .” Proverbs 29:18