Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

In the 1970’s on a Waynesville, Ohio farm a letter was discovered as a family was rummaging through a great-grandfather’s keepsakes.  The four-time academy award nominee, Ethan Hawke’s great-grandfather had died, and the family enjoyed reminiscing through his belongings.  The letter was dated ‘Cornwall, 1483’.  It was tattered and worn but legible enough to offer wonderful wisdom inheritances to the family. 

Ethan Hawke is a descendant to the noble Hawkes of Cornwall.  Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke was among the 323 killed at the battle of Slaughter Bridge in 1483.  The discovered letter was written by Sir Thomas, a knight, fearing he may not return from that battle.  He writes to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows.  His intent: “to give them a compass for a journey they will have to make alone, a short guide to what gives life meaning and beauty”.

“Rules for a Knight” is the book that Ethan Hawke has garnered from his ancestor’s letter.  It was given to me as a gift and I find it full of ‘profound common sense’ with deep frames for viewing life’s wise clues.  The letter ruminates on solitude, humility, forgiveness, honesty, courage, grace, pride and patience; just to name a few.  It draws from ancient teachings wisdom that is very apropos for our world today.

Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke writes about ‘Cooperation’“Each of us is walking our own road.  We are born at specific times, in specific places, and our challenges are unique.  As knights, understanding and respecting our distinctiveness is vital to our ability to harness our collective strength.  The use of force may be necessary to protect in an emergency, but only justice, fairness, and cooperation can truly succeed in leading people.  We must live and work together as brothers/sisters or perish together as fools.” P.35

It seems this is what we are missing in so many places these days…cooperation.  Are you as tired of the Washington D.C. bickering as I am?  The divisiveness is mind-numbing.  It seems to me we ought to have a course in elementary school where we learn early how to “agree to disagree”.  As a people we don’t do this very well.  It’s “our way or the highway”, as they say.  We have become a nation that doesn’t require the best from our leaders and thus we find leadership to be more like a school playground of fussing and fighting than an honored and hallowed place where influencing the world to a better place is the goal.

Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke left his descendants a powerful truth that is vitally important for us in our day… “justice, fairness, and cooperation can truly succeed in leading people.  We must live and work together as brothers/sisters or perish together as fools.”

John Wesley believed something similar “If your heart is as my heart, then give me your hand.”  He spoke of such ‘cooperation in his sermon entitled “The Catholic Spirit” based on 2 Kings 10:15.

Jesus offered it this way from his sermon on the mountain; “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5: 9).

Will we perish together as fools?  Or will we extend a hand to others even when we disagree?

Always Thinking,


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