Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"...not because they are easy, but because they are hard"

On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy spoke at Rice University in Houston. The focus of his presentation was the nation's space program and his decision to send a manned mission to the moon.

When the speech turned to the reasons for choosing such a path, he said:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win....
I was not alive when President Kennedy said these words. In fact, I had no knowledge of this particular speech until I saw a brief clip of it on TV. However, the sentiment struck me squarely between the eyes. We choose to do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard? Wow. My mind was blown.

The reason for my reaction was the complete evaporation of this spirit in my lifetime. Things today are only described as "hard," when "easy" didn't work out so well:
--Nothing's ever easy is it?
--The devil's in the details.
--You didn't think this was going to be easy, did you?
--Dang, it wasn't supposed to be like this.

What happened to the sense of accomplishment gained from succeeding in a hard task, one which carries a substantial risk of failure? What happened to choosing the difficult, but correct path? These sentiments are mere curiosities today.

But I, for one, refuse to let them die.

And not because it's easy.


Kara Alison said...

Thanks Jason. I'm new to this whole blog thing, so I certainly appreciate the supportive comment. Hopefully I'm responding in the right place! At any rate, thank you: Not because of any degree of difficulty, but because it's RIGHT.

Rhonda Helms said...

We've definitely slipped away from choosing the hard path.

When you succeed after struggling and fighting for something right, doesn't it make that success more worthwhile?

Anonymous said...

Kara, glad to have you over. I hope to see more on your blog soon.

Rhonda, definitely yes! Funny how the right things tend be those that cut against the grain and the mob mentality.