The Last Hour

photo by Josh Scholten

Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
~Jonathan Edwards

The first few weekends of any university’s fall semester is fraught with risk.  It is a time when freshmen, in particular, participate in age-old college rituals that take some to the emergency room and result in a few lying in the morgue.  There is sometimes an attitude of tossing care and good judgement to the wind.  Leaving home and being on one’s own means the freedom to do what one wants, when one wants, until the moment when payment comes due.

The national headlines in autumn over the last few years have shouted in large font about toxic reactions at parties serving Four Loko, about students gone missing, about fatal falls off overloaded balconies, and this week about the devastating effects of alcohol enemas.  There never seems to be an end to ways students can experiment with stretching and possibly breaking the slender thread between life and death, in the name of fun and games.

A helpful rule of thumb has always been what our grandmothers said:  “Don’t ever do anything you’d be embarrassed to see on the front page of the newspaper.”

In this day and age of social media, as newspapers become less relevant, the new rule of thumb should be: “Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to see on FaceBook, YouTube or going viral in a matter of hours.”  Unfortunately, in the twisted way modern society works for some, that is all the more incentive.

Jonathan Edwards, writing almost 300 years ago, had it right.  We need to live each hour as if it were our last, considering what that hour might mean for eternity.

3 thoughts on “The Last Hour

  1. I have always wondered why the start of college seemed to bring the crazy and daredevils out in what had been normal average kids … Even when I went to college I saw some of my very good friends do some of the stupidest things ever … and want me to join in !
    But I was one of the “lucky” poor working students that had to go to work so always had a good reason to miss out , so was never able to be at those crazy parties . thank goodness … I would hear after the fact that while I was at work they had injuried themselves or worst yet gotten kicked out of school from doing something that would harm them or they had vandalized something on the campus …What makes people do such crazy things ? Even after all that human study on how the brain works , I never did get it …

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  2. Shame and a mandate for meaningful living seem to be in short supply these days. Praying for our young people. And that our “old” people set an example worth emulating.

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  3. I always weep for the parents when I read of college freshmen dying of alcohol poisoning, or drug overdoses, or car accidents or falling off balconies. You do your best to love and nurture them, and then suddenly everything changes. At least you have the opportunity in your job to influence behavior and to save lives.

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