"And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"
Esther 4:14, New American Standard Bible
I am prone to minor obsessions. If I find a book, movie, show, or topic that alights my imagination, I tend to think about, dream about it, have imaginary conversations about it, and then inexplicably, I move on.
My latest minor obsession is George Washington's Revolutionary War Culper Spy Ring. Over time I'd heard of the ring through pop culture references, such as subplots in some of my favorite TV detective shows, but it didn't really take root in my own imagination until I visited historical Valley Forge in Pennsylvania and learned about Washington's previous life as a spy, as well as his commitment to using covert intelligence to defeat a superior fighting force in the Revolutionary War.
Recently on Netflix, I stumbled across AMC's TV series Turn, which is a fictionalized story based on Alexander Rose's history book Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring. Then the obsession flame was solidly lit, and I went back to Kilmeade's book from page one and devoured it in a couple of days.
As I was preparing for today's blog post I considered several topics, but it occurred to me that it made the most sense to capture the obsession de jour while the muse was inspiring me. That led to question why this Revolutionary War story would have such an impact on me right now and I was quite surprised by the answer to my own question...these patriots loved liberty and wanted the self-determination of a new nation; but they were not cut out to be a part of the traditional fight. They were non-conformists who were in the right place at the right time for such a time as this.
That phrase, for such a time as this, comes from the Old Testament Bible story of Esther, who five centuries before the birth of Christ miraculously rises to be Queen of Persia. This allows her to be in the right place at the right time to save her Jewish people.
That is the same element of the Culper Ring that so strikes me. God gives us talents, gifts, situations, and people with which we can make our corner of the world better.
If Robert Townsend, Abraham Woodhull, or any other member of the Culper Ring had decided that military service was the only way to serve the country, to which they were clearly not disposed, they would have missed out on their opportunity to profoundly impact the war effort. Esther, Queen of Persia, is warned that if she stays silent, God will still save the Jews some other way; but her opportunity will be lost to great personal consequence to her and to her family.
So...to the original question of why am I temporarily obsessed with a 240 year old spy ring, let alone a 2500 year old Persian Queen? While there may be a combination of reasons, I'm guessing one big one is that it was my birthday this week, which always brings with it the same mix of juvenile delight and adult trepidation that maybe I should have done more, or need to do more quickly to catch up with what I imagine I should have done by this age- now firmly into my forties.
The truth is, a lot of my life was bequeathed to me beyond my control: when and where I was born, who raised me, my genetic code, and many other external factors influenced the range of opportunities and obstacles I would face, just like Esther and just like the patriots of the Culper Ring. However, every minute of every day I also have self-determination to decide how I will face those opportunities and obstacles.
I deeply admire those who serve in the military, and am grateful for their service. I admire fire fighters and my fellow teachers who are able to complete the full thirty years of service. I admire crab fishermen, construction workers, engineers, stay-at-home moms, and most of all, I admire my husband who seems to be a Jedi-of-all-trades. These people were all made for such a time as this. It's not just Queens and spies that make the world a better place. It's all of us, who take inventory of who we are, where we are, and what we have to offer; and then answer the call as needed.
"...who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"