Tuesday, August 30, 2011


A fierce wind raged through our campground----collapsing, tearing, breaking one fellow's tent.  He's gathering the pieces for the dumpster.  I know it's his only home and he's faced with sleeping in his car.  I have an impulse to rescue-----BUT THEN----A 2000 yr old story flashed in my head----and I get a better Idea.  I'll tell you the story---it's a true one---and you won't forget it: 

In 415  BC, an army and a fleet from Athens laid seige to the city of Syracuse (Sicily) and was on the brink of overrunning it.  Syracuse, in desperation, asked mighty Sparta for help----and expected phalanxes of gleaming Spartan helmets to come to their rescue.  Instead, only one Spartan soldier was sent----smuggled into the city---carrying a note for its rulers----it said:  THIS IS GYLIPPUS---OUR BEST GENERAL----HE IS ALL YOU NEED!!  They were stunned---and demoralized---but desperate.  So they gave him command.  Under cover of darkness, he assembled the rag tag defenders and told them they were terrific soldiers---that they would shatter the Athenians so completely that few, if any would escape the Island.  He then directed emergency wall mending---utilized feints, ploys, flanking maneuvers, concentrations of forces-----and in short order had the Athenians on the run. He trapped their entire force and almost none escaped.  For the Athenians it was the disasterous turning point in the Peloponnesian wars.

The message I take away is obvious:  WHAT WE MOST NEED IS NOT RESCUE---BUT INSPIRATION. 

So--- Gylippus-like, I move into his life and tell him that anything can be fixed--for about $5 and some imagination.  He shows me the rips and the broken part. I go with him to Ace Hardware and tell him that somewhere in this store is a functional replacement----and I amble around the aisles with him---as he looks at plastic fittings and other stuff.  Suddenly in the conduit aisle he finds a 45 degree fitting of the right diameter.  He's delighted---we return--it works.  I lend him needle and thread and he stitches the rips.  He's in business again---AND DELIGHTED WITH HIMSELF.

You're looking at a victorious soldier----who has saved his home from destruction.  And new ideas came rushing out of him---why not secure his tent inside this shelter.  

And he did!!  And lived happily ever after.   Ah sweet people---I can tell you:  It's Waaaay more fun to inspire than rescue----and waaay more fun to hatch a hero than be one


Brenda A. said...

That was an inspiration for me as well. Thanks for sharing a great true story!

squire said...

He will remember you far longer than if you had bought a new tent.

Wayne (Wirs) said...

Thank-you Randy. That was inspiring.

farmlady said...

Kind of like teaching a man how to fish.
This was an inspiration to all of us.

Michael said...

Great Story! Crazy Brilliant!
Teach a fish to think.
And he'll be man for life.

Anonymous said...

No randy philosophizes?


Anonymous said...

In a situation like this one you've recounted, my father would say, what ever you need to fix this is with in ten feet of you. He would start looking around and in short order he would have the job done.