Today was a free day of sorts. I wanted to mix in some shopping, along with hitting on our Great Awakening theme. I collect fountain pens, so I decided to start the day with a trip to Bromfield Pen Shop, but when I arrived at the store, everything was boxed up and the guy in charge said they were moving up the street to a new location, and it would be two weeks before they could sell any pens. Bummer.
I then headed toward the Boston Public Library where they keep the Thomas Prince collection, which includes books from his library, as well as his correspondence. It was going to be a trek, but it seemed a worthy quest for a chance to see the actual letters and remnants of the library of this distinguished figure from the Great Awakening.
So, I walked the 30 minutes to the Boston Public Library. As I neared the library, I noticed a beautiful old church on the other side of Boylston Street; not just any church but the Old South Church! I started reading the plaque on the building, and it noted Benjamin Franklin and Sam Adams worshipped here. Then I read that this building was built in 1875, which by my reckoning is about 100 years after Franklin and Adams were roaming the streets of Boston. I’m guessing the “here” referred to the congregation. I went in and took a quick look, but I didn’t come here to see 1875; I came here to see 1740. Ugh.
I then crossed the street to the Boston Public Library, entered the building, and found my way across the courtyard to the Information Desk. When I asked the lady there about the Thomas Prince collection, she began pecking away at her keyboard, and then said, “Oh, I’m sorry, but that collection is not available right now.”
“Why not?,” I asked.
“We are doing renovations in that wing of the library and the collection has been put away.”
“When will the renovations be done?”
“In 2022 hopefully,” she replied.
“So, you’re saying they won’t be done by Sunday, when I leave town?”
“No, I am sorry; but it is going to be amazing when it is finished.”
I’m sure it will be, I thought, and if I ever come back to boston some day, maybe I will see it.
So, you ask, where was The Wife and Ann, the other two members of the GSB team, while I was suffering disappointment after disappointment in search of artifacts from the Great Awakening. Well, when I finally caught up with them, they were in the bar at the Omni Hotel, where the Boston Cream Pie was supposedly created. I asked a couple of times how the Omni Hotel (founded in 1958) could have created the Boston Cream Pie (created in the 1800s), but I never got a satisfactory answer. They each ordered a piece of pie, but neither thought it lived up to the hype. Then The Wife suggested they try the Boston Cream Pie Martini to make up for the disappointing pie, but at that point I intervened and persuaded them both it was time to head back to the hotel.
Life is made up of the journey and the accomplishment. The former without the latter can seem meaningless, and the latter without the former joyless. Jesus taught about the importance of living in the present (Matthew 6:34), which is another way of reminding us to enjoy the journey. And I did enjoy the journey. There was the walk through the Boston Common down Boylston street on a beautiful Boston afternoon. There was the anticipation of what I might find at the library or around the next corner. And here’s the thing, when you are focused on the journey, the accomplishments, while not necessarily sweeter, are more satisfying. GS