Suppose you could travel back in time and witness some event as it happened. What would you like to see firsthand?
My family and I played that “what if” game on a trip a few years ago. There were the obvious answers, of course, – to see the Red Sea divided into two walls of water, the resurrection or ascension of Jesus, to hear Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.
But lately I’ve been working on another list, because it speaks not just to the past, but to my future and yours.
If I could be a fly on history’s wall, here are some things I’d like to see, in no certain order:
I’d love to see Walt Disney show his wife sketch of a cartoon mouse he drew on the train ride home – one he called “Mortimer.” Lillian had a better idea. “Call him Mickey,” she said.
I’d love to see Oprah Winfrey’s first screen test.
I’d love to hear Billy Graham the first time he ever stood to preach.
I’d love to see Norman Vincent Peale’s wife, Ruth, mail his book manuscript – still in the trash can – to yet another publisher because he forbid her to take it out of the trash. (The book was The Power of Positive Thinking. It sold 30 million copies.)
I’d love to see Rick Warren knock on that first California door and ask “Do you go to church anywhere around here? Why not?”
I’d love to see Fanny Crosby writing her first poem.
I’d love to see Paul W. Bryant wrestle that bear and earn a nickname for life.
I’d love to see the Wright Brothers flip the coin to see who would pilot that contraption first.
I’d love to see John Hancock be the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.
I’d love to see Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Theses to the Wittenburg Chapel door.
I’d love to see Moses, with a still-hot rod in his hand, explain to his wife exactly why he had to return to Egypt.
I’d love to see David’s face turn red when he first heard about that taunting giant and decided that something must be done.
I’d love to see Joshua call his leaders together on the threshold of the Promised Land and say, “Pass the word….”
I’d love to see Nehemiah, having fasted and prayed for four months, risk his life by asking for the King’s favor.
There’s a pattern to my list, of course. I want to see what makes people risk making the first move.
History always judges its successes and failures. But the linchpin to every meaningful change was a decision to move forward. To dare. To dream. To try.
You can make history, too.