Not too many years ago I saw in a Philadelphia paper an article about the ongoing effort to capture a swan which was swimming in the Wissahickon, not far from where I grew up. For quite a while it had eluded all efforts of the Park officials to net it. The reason they wanted so badly to reach it was that someone had shot an arrow at this bird, and the arrow was still protruding from both sides of its breast.

My brother and I knew every tree and every rock in our area of those woods and our part of the huge Fairmont Park; our bikes took us everywhere. We just knew which big streets we weren’t allowed to cross, and my brother was older, so he had a watch. Younger folks do get very weary of hearing about “the good old days,” but I’m almost 85, and I know. They were better.

It was perfectly safe to turn us loose in the great outdoors and tell us to be home by supper. We rode the Chestnut Hill Local into the city for art classes at 9 and 10 without adults. We wandered the woods behind our house; we made clover chains and festooned my bike. We all put on impromptu plays on the tennis courts; we were free. And we were safe.

And we knew right from wrong. We knew all the kids in our neighborhood, even the “bad” ones we weren’t allowed to play with, and I can tell you this with certainty: not even the very worst of the very bad boys, who stole candy from the drug store, would ever have shot an arrow through the breast of a swan.

In today’s relativity there is no absolute right and wrong. Men can put on a dress and join little girls in the ladies’ room. Women can marry women, and men, men. And most awful of all, we kill babies, millions of babies, because we want to have unfettered sex without consequences. And those of us who want to shrink back in horror are the hated ones, the bigoted ones, the evil ones. We are despised because we stand in the way of “progress.”

So what in the world can we do?

We can pray.

The thing is, God told us all this was going to happen. It will get worse and worse. And the worse it gets, the more clearly the world is forced to see the evil, and each person will have to choose a side. This has to be part of God’s plan of redemption. Christ died so that we could make a choice! Certainly He wants no one to make the choice that will separate him or her from God for all eternity, and his grace and forgiveness is open to all who come to him.

But everyone chooses, and only God knows when it will be time for Him to say,


-Norma Stockton