THE SEASONS OF LIFE
H. Edwin Young
September 26, 1993
Mark Twain once asked a baggage handler as he was
about to board a train if his briefcase would be
strong enough for it to be checked in the baggage
compartment. And the man took his briefcase and
immediately he threw it down on the ground and he
said, That's what it'll get in Washington, in
Philadelphia. And then he picked up the briefcase and
hit it five times against the side of thte train car-
and he said, That's what it'll get in Chicago. And
then he threw it on the ground and started to stomp on
it vigorously and the briefcase split open with all of
his papers and books just going everywhere. He said,
Now that's what it's going to get in Sioux City. I'll
tell you what: if you're going any farther than Sioux
City I'd suggest you carry your briefcase on the
Now when I get up in the morning sometimes, I feel
like, as I look in the mirror, that my face has
somehow been to that mythical Sioux City handler's
bags. You know, you get up in the morning and you look
in the mirror and all a man can do is wash his face
and mow it, you know, shave a little bit. But you
women, you have something called cosmetics that you
work on your face to show, to hide the wear and tear
of time and the wear and tear of years. Now, the word
'cosmetics' it comes from a Greek word 'cosmos.' It
means to make order out of chaos. And so as time
passes that takes place.
Solomon is talking about time today. Exactly what is
time? Sometimes time seems to drag. And sometimes time
seems to fly. How long, for example, is 30 minutes?
Ask a student as he's waiting for the bell late Friday
afternoon. How long is an hour? Ask someone who is
seated in a dentist's chair. How long is three months?
Ask an expectant mother who hasn't seen her feet in
that period of time. How long is a year? Ask a
teenager who's waiting to get his diver's license.
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