It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and
tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years
old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not
yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in
position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the
furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and
his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill
waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the
balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't
begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and
those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead
and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all
know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't
need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time
with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland,
the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and
unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago; or to
anyone who ever sailed a skiff under a quilt sail, the moment in 1492 when
somebody thought This is it: the absolute edge of no return, to turn
back now and make home or sail irrevocably on and either find land or plunge
over the world's roaring rim. Intruder in the Dust 1948, William Faulkner
Faulkner was referring to the moments before Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg here, of course, and to the days before the discovery of America. There are these moments in all our lives, much like the fourteen year old southern boys mentioned by Faulkner, when we realize we are on the brink of eternity. We can see that we hold the future in our hands, our destiny will be revealed any moment. These moments are our "points of no return" from which we know there may be no practical going back.
Og Mandino wrote a small book titled, The Greatest Salesman in the World. In this book, he taught the principle, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." I read this book as a teenager, and was impressed to realize I was choosing my path with each decision I made, much like the steps in a flow chart. When I look back at the scene of the empty field above, I imagine the soldiers with their guns fighting and dying on this field. They are gone; the blood has disappeared from the soil, but the memory remains even to us living a century past these brave moments.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
You know, Columbus was not seeking a new world. He was seeking gold. So, it is hard to say whether his mission was a success or not. But, suffice it to say, we won. The same goes for Pickett's Charge. When the bodies were stacked and buried, and the President spoke, and surrender was declared, a country walked away from the devastation to piece together her "manifest destiny." We all won. You never know in the heat of battle how the tide is going to turn... nor in those moments before. You just know that God has the outcome in His hands. You know that either way, you win.