It was a bitter, biting cold and windy January day in downtown Boston. The kind of day that makes you turn around and walk backwards when the headwinds cut through you and steal the warmth from your face. I had a few hours to kill so I parked at South Station and walked to an information desk to see about recommendations for siteseeing in the area. It was recommended that I spend some time walking the Freedom Trail enjoying the historical sites of Boston.
So I headed up Summer Street and cut through the tunneling wind and single digit temperatures to arrive at Boston Commons. Little did I know I was only a few minutes away from having an encounter with one of the great Founding Fathers of American history.
I had very little time and wanted to see as much as possible so I traveled with my guided map and planned on a cursory tour with little to no lingering. Before me stood the Massachusetts State House and off I went. To the bottom of the hill where I gazed upon the Park Street Church long enough not to impede the movement of the passerby. Around the corner I went with a lingering gaze up to the top of the church steeple. I told myself to keep moving, to stay warm, to see as much as possible. And then my eyes fell upon the Granary Burying Ground. It was a quaint cemetary nestled up alongside the church walls where it was reverently offerred solitude by means of a street side gate and fencing. It was here where they laid to rest the likes of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, all those who died in the Boston Massacre, as well as the family members of Benjamin Franklin.
I worked my way through the burial ground and lastly found myself before the Franklin tombstone centered in the middle of the yard. I found myself taken back by an inscription written by Benjamin Franklin himself to which he paid tribute to his mother and father. He lauded his parents efforts to maintain a marriage for 55 years, to stay healthy all their years, and reputably raise 13 children without great wealth attached to their name. Then, Franklin said these words as if to me:
From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.
It was as though his words had spoken out of the past and into my present state as I stood before the marble stone.
Thy calling. Each one of us has something we are uniquely designed to accomplish in this world.
To diligence. We must work with persistance and perseverance towards this end.
Be encouraged. When we lose spirit and drive and are met with great setback, we must be urged to continue on.
And distrust not Providence. Although, many a time, we will feel as though we have lost our way, we must yet still believe in the Hand that is caring for us and guiding us still.
I had stumbled upon rich wisdom hidden on a tombstone from long ago. Benjamin Franklin's words had echoed into the future and met me along the Freedom Trail that cold wintry afternoon. I didn't make it too much further along the trail. I managed to arrive to the site of the Boston Massacre several blocks further down the road. But not without stopping to warm up for coffee at a Starbucks along the trail. The cold was getting the best of my excursion. But I had already found what I was looking for that day.
I was spurred on towards my calling by one of our Founding Fathers. And I was urged not to lose heart along the journey. But to trust that I am going somewhere and am moving towards some good that I have been called to accomplish. And it is Providence that will get me there.