Some Choices Last An Eternity
By Tim Timmons
Getting older changes things, doesn’t it? (Yup, that was rhetorical.) When I was younger, I used to look forward to Saturdays. When I was really young, it meant no school, sleeping in, Saturday morning cartoons and in general playing all day. A few years after that, there was softball tournaments, golf outings and hanging out with buddies. Then came family outings, taking the girls to the zoo, amusement parks, state parks and so on.
Now? Well, one of the great things about Saturdays is a quiet office and a chance to catch up on all the stuff that I didn’t have time to get to during the week. I wonder exactly when a happy Saturday went from play to work? I wonder what that says about me? Maybe I should quit wondering? But then I realized that my wandering mind was getting in the way of me getting anything done so I turned back to my desk and –
John Hammer, the incredibly massive John Hammer was standing in my door. I hadn’t heard him come in. Had no idea he was there or how long he had been. All I knew was he scared the living bejeezus out of me.
“Lord, John! You do realize that one day you are going to give me a heart attack, don’t you?” I managed – trying to get my breathing back to normal. It’s not that I’m afraid of the man they call Hammer – well, mostly. It’s just that he always does this. It’s like being in your house and you turn around and your spouse is right there. It gives you a start.
If you aren’t familiar with him, John is an incredibly large man. His calloused hands are the size of baseball mitts and the result of decades of honest, hard work. His neck is twice the size of mine and the skin is the texture of rough, yet worn-out leather. When he talks, which isn’t all that often, his gravelly voice sounds like it’s been drug over two miles of bad country roads. And if there is anyone who loves his country more, I haven’t met them yet.
“Well, since it appears the EMTs aren’t necessary, what can I do for you, John?”
“You know I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve,” he began, a little quieter than usual.
“But Timmons, I swear, there is evil in this world.”
I smiled. “John, there’s always been evil. Look at Sodom and-”
“I know that,” he snapped. “I’m not saying there has never been, but Timmons, I swear there’s stuff going on that is getting worse by the day.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we know that politicians lie,” he said. “Nothing new with that. But the level they’re doing it now is pretty unbelievable.”
“I don’t know John, do you remember Richard Nixon?”
“It’s not just that,” he said in a tone that clearly said I wasn’t catching on. “Look at the violence in the world today. Indianapolis has turned into, well, I don’t know what. And that shooting in Nashville, Tenn. That shooter went in and targeted Christian kids.”
“Look, John, you can’t take one isolated incident and-”
“Isolated?” Hammer boomed. “Isolated? Have you not been paying attention, Timmons? There’s been more criminal acts against churches in the last few years than ever, and 2023 is even worse.”
Hammer was referring to a report I read from the Family Research Council that documented more than 400 incidents against churches from 2018 to 2022. Things like bomb threats, arson and vandalism. According to the study, 2023 is on track to be the worst year yet.
“And we’re fighting about putting sexually explicit books in school libraries, Timmons . . . SCHOOL LIBRARIES! And good people, people who are smart and seem to mean well, are screaming that those who don’t want the books in front of school kids are like the Nazis, that they’re banning books. Hell, Timmons. Books like that have been available in our public libraries for a long time and no one has suggested getting rid of them. There’s no banning of books here. It’s just plain common sense that you don’t put that stuff in front of kids.”
“Look, John, I get it. There’s a debate-”
“There shouldn’t be, Timmons,” he shot back. “The point is that the world has changed and now people are saying that kids, little kids and kids in general, should be exposed to things that not too damn long ago would have been called pornographic.”
Hammer paused. He almost seemed out of breath.
“I’ll tell you this, Timmons. There’s something at work in the world today. You can call it good and evil on a God-kind-of-scale or you can call it whatever you want. I’m not smart enough to know the answer. But I do know this. In my heart I believe it’s time to think about what we believe and start making some choices.”
“What kind of choices, John?”
“The kind that last an eternity.”
With that, the Hammer walked away. But his words stayed.
-Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at [email protected].