Whilst in college a poster hung in my room. Mom gave it to me at Christmas of my freshman year. It stayed with me through those four years then hung in my bedroom at home for many more. Titled “One Solitary Life,” it was printed on aged parchment paper in a distinctive script font. Winter quarter, I copied the text to the inside page of the 3-ring binder of denim-blue fabric I lugged to and from class each day in an Army surplus backpack. I lost the poster, but never the sentiment. This isn’t the photo which adorned the poster, but it is my calligraphy in blue ink of the poster’s text presented below:
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself. He had nothing to do with the world except the naked power of his divine manhood.
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth when he was dying . . . and that was his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today he is the centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched . . . and all the navies that were ever built . . . and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.