Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Quick Note on the Restoration

A while ago I read a book for a class on the crusades that has stuck with me. This is somewhat noteworthy, since I read two books a week (or just one if it's not in English) for that class, so ideas tend to dissolve fairly quickly after the review is written and turned in. A book on Baldwin IV, the "leper" King of Jerusalem, however, struck me in a very unanticipated way. (I'm not advocating going out and buying the book, or even reading it, I'm just presenting a single thought provoked by it.)

Baldwin lived less than 25 years, and reigned for even fewer, but his bravery in the face of inevitability is tragic and inspiring. Just one example of this: as the leprosy progressed he lost sensitivity and mobility in his extremities, so he learned to ride a horse (in full armor) using only his knees to grip, steer, and otherwise direct his horse - not only that but if the primary sources can be believed, he was one of the best horsemen in the kingdom.

There is one quote that particularly stands out, and it is this that has haunted me, since. Writing to the king of France, he stated, "If I could be cured of the disease of Naaman, I would wash seven times in Jordan, but I have found in the present age no Elisha who can heal me."

Even writing this now, it is a powerful statement of yearning and loss that drives its message deep into my callused soul.

How often to I take my life and blessings for granted? Too many to count - in fact, it's probably nearly constant. I'm glad I get (painfully) reminded, on occasion.