The succeeding essay, ” The Paradox of Our Age” was written by Dr. Bob Moorehead a former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church who retired in 1998 after 29 years in that post. Whatever the reason behind his untimely retirement is something I won’t be dealing here for my primary goal is to present this wonderful essay, without bias to the one who wrote it, with the hope of enlightenment as what this piece has brought me some years ago when I first read it.
The origin of the essay itself was long been debated. Some say it was authored by the famous stand up comedian George Carlin after the comedian lost his wife to liver cancer, but Carlin himself emphatically denied the allegations. Others attributed the essay to a Columbine High School student who bore witness to the shootings of April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. However, it was found out that the essay which was then called ” The Paradox of Our Time” was written four years before the massacre, so it could not have been penned down by that mysterious student and there is really no evidence linking the essay to the Columbine Massacre or that particular student.
Another claim was that of Jeff Dickson, after posting the essay in his online forum, Hacks-R-Us. But apparently, it was that of Dr. Moorehead’s rightful authorship that was recognized and widely accepted.
“The Paradox of Our Age” appeared in Dr. Moorehead’s Words Aptly Spoken in 1995- which was the author’s collection of prayers, homilies and monologues he used in his sermons and radio broadcasts while still serving as a pastor in his church.
If you will try it yourself, you may find different versions (and variations) of the essay on the net. I browsed for the most complete, and I hope I got the right one.
” The Paradox of Our Age”
Dr. Bob Moorehead
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce; fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember to say “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
I have a printed copy of this in my room; posted on my wall. I read it every now and then and surprisingly, I never get tired of doing it. Such a wonderful essay to remind us of what’s truly important in this fleeting life of ours.
It made me think, and act. I hope it stirs something in you as well.