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Hartselle Enquirer

Prologue to life 

By A. Ray Lee 

Columnist 

 I had almost reached the bottom of an old packing carton when I found it. Stenciled across the cover in bold letters were the words “Student Notebook,” and underneath, written in dark ink, the name R. Lee had been added.  

It was among the few items my mother had packed away many years ago. Finding it brought back poignant memories that had been hidden away in the recesses of my mind for a long time. 

Slowly I opened the frayed and tattered hardback cover to lined sheets of paper, yellowed by time, as they had remained undisturbed for more than a half century. As I turned through the pages and began to read the hand-written notes, I found myself once again in the classroom, preparing for a future in “vocational agriculture.”  

That vocation never materialized, as life turned in a different direction for me.    

However, the lessons of the classroom, field trips and projects in horticulture and animal husbandry were not wasted.  

It is an undeniable truth that we reap what we sow in the fields of agriculture and in the experiences of life. Our actions might hasten, delay or enhance the harvest, but the seed sown inevitably determines the fruits of the harvest.  

The choices of life have consequences far beyond the moment in which they are made. Those consequences might be good, bad or even disastrous.  

The eternal truth stated in scripture remains unchanging: As one sows, so one reaps. 

Each new generation seems to have to discovered that truth on a personal basis. Lessons in an old dusty volume or in the earnest admonitions of one who has lived his allotted three score and ten years might have little influence on those who are facing life with youthful optimism.  

In the beginning, life is fresh and has no boundaries, other than those undesirable ones imposed by religion, civil and law authorities and other controlling authority figures. 

I remember life was much like that for me. Even though I learned the scriptures, listened regularly to good sermons and was instructed by godly people, some truths I learned harshly by experience.  

It was not that I did not believe what I was being taught. I wanted to see for myself. There is an old adage that states we learn by doing. 

I carry marks in my psyche of lessons learned the hard way. They are indelibly written in my being, as surely as those truths and principles recorded in the old notebook.  

Lessons more painfully learned, and though not visible to physical eyes, are of more guiding benefit than the theological diplomas and certificates hanging for all to see upon the walls of my office. 

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