Two fools quarreling
Thomas Fuller said something in a short and meaningful sentence that pertains to loved ones, families, friends, and to all relationships of life: “The world is too narrow for two fools aquarreling.” 1 There isn’t any place in all this wide world where one would be comfortable with quarreling. There isn’t any happiness of any kind that wouldn’t be blighted by quarreling. There isn’t any place wide enough, anywhere, that wouldn’t seem cramped by quarreling. Life has enough problems of other kinds, for all of us, without adding quarreling and contention. But it happens. It happens at home; it happens at work; it happens in public and private places: people quarreling, criticizing, accusing; cutting deep wounds, saying things they shouldn’t say—things they often do not know—breaking hearts, solving nothing, hurting themselves. Quarreling hurts especially with family and friends. It hurts when children are helplessly caught in a crossfire between two quarreling, contending parents—or, to use another figure, between the snipping blades of a pair of scissors. Children are so often the victims of what adults shouldn’t do. There is also the public kind of quarreling, where the contenders seem determined to cut each other down. Of course there are mistakes, facts to be faced—performance that isn’t good enough, grievances that cannot altogether be brushed aside. But there are unkind and kinder ways of correction. And since there is no perfection in any of us, we have no right to expect it of others. Hearts can be broken, lives blighted, homes made unhappy, and friends and families pulled apart by quarreling and by frequent magnifying of faults. There is no peace, no pleasant place, no home, no heart that can’t be hurt by quarreling and contention. This world needs kindness, compassion, understanding. It is too cramped for two fools quarreling.
Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, No. 4844.
“Your children to whom you must relinquish all”
“Could I climb to the highest place in Athens,” said Socrates, “I would lift up my voice and proclaim: ‘Fellow citizens, why do ye turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must relinquish it all?’” It’s a sobering thought. What do we own—and how long—and what do we use it for? There is, there must be a priority of values in all our lives. It shows itself in how we use our time, and in many other ways. In times of disaster—earthquake, fire, catastrophes of other kinds—the things that people first try to save are interesting indicators of what seems to matter most. We were recently reminded of a man whose home burned down one evening in his absence. Virtually not a single tangible possession was saved, but blessedly no life was lost. When asked how he felt, without hesitation he said: “I learned that night how precious my wife and children are to me.” We come and go; we gain a little, lose a little, as we pursue our feverish little pace and purposes, and hold tightly at times to some things that seem to matter much. Then we are faced with the reality of the limits of this life, and come at last to know that we are tenants here, and only for a short time, that we don’t own things very long, and that we will leave behind us all the tangibles that we can touch. And at last we learn what really matters most: peace; a quiet conscience; health; respect and love of family and friends; faith in God and assurance of his divine plan and purpose; and the character and accomplishment that can go with us to the everlastingness of life. If I could climb to the highest place, I would lift my voice and ask: Why do ye turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must leave it all?