An Encouraging Word: Responsibility accompanies action

By HOWARD COOP

Contributing columnist 

The evening news began as usual.  Then, a few minutes after the newscast began, the meteorologist began his segment of the newscast. His opening statement was interesting. With absolute certainty, he gave the exact time when the sun would rise and set the next day. 

The meteorologist was pointing out a simple fact, but that fact is an indication of something more important: We live in a predictable universe. The astronomers can determine years in advance with absolute certainty when the sun will rise and set and when an eclipse of the sun or the moon will occur.  This is possible because everything within the solar system moves with predictability.

This fact was made clear to me about 46 years ago. A friend, in a Christmas greeting, sent me a perpetual calendar that covers the period from 1851 through 2050. He wrote, “This calendar will serve you ALL your life time if you take care of it.” For all of these years, I have kept it in a drawer of my desk, and I refer to it often. The information in it is absolutely reliable.

This reliability involves more than the movement of bodies in the solar system; it involves all of life. 

In the spring of 1953, the last semester of my college career, I took a course in history. Dr. Charles Keith was professor. One morning, Dr. Keith came into the classroom and, without a word, began handing out sheets of paper.  When he had given a sheet to each student, he began his lecture by reading the poem entitled Der Tag that was printed on those sheets. That title is composed of two German words that mean The Day. After 64 years I have not forgotten the poignant line in that poem:  “After the day there’s a price to pay.” 

We may be free to act, but responsibility always accompanies action. As sure as the rising and setting of the sun, there is a price to pay.