You know what I love most about the Culper Ring? That I set about to learn about them a year and a half ago expecting high adventure, cloak and dagger, James Bond meets Jason Bourne kind of action. But what I found weren't specially trained super-spies. They were people. Shopkeepers and farmers, fishermen and soldiers.
They were you. They were me.
They didn't have special training. Heck, the code they developed was amateur at best and could have been cracked in about an hour had it ever been intercepted. But they had the safety of invisible ink...which one of the brothers Jay developed solely for fun before the Revolution began. While in England, no less. He wasn't some chemist working at a top-secret facility, he was a basement scientist.
|Haymaking by Winslow Homer, 1864|
That's what I love. That these were just people who didn't believe in embracing limits. Who lived in a time when discovery meant going out and doing instead of sitting and typing in a command in Google. (Not to knock Google--I love me my search engines! LOL). That these folks got up each day, not with a mission from headquarters, but with a down-to-their-bones need to help their country. To serve their brothers. To obey their God.
Sometimes, I look around this world with its this-crisis and that-crisis...with its millions of people who say, "I deserve this"...with its millions more who shrug and say, "Nothing I can do." I see the dangers, the crime, the hatred, the total lack of understanding between opposing views. And I think, We need the Culpers. We need someone willing to take a few risks to do what needs done.
And then I realize...they're out there. The people who don't just go out of their way to do the right thing, but who make it their way. Maybe they don't know they're a Culper. Maybe they don't encode their work and send it to anyone in charge. But they're there. People who get up every day and say, "Show me what to do today, God. Show me how to help."
And to whom He replies, "Keep your eyes open. Someone's going to cross your path soon..."
These are the people--like you, like me--who change lives. And who can, I truly believe, change the world.
Let's change it with them. Let's honor them for their quiet labor and start something together. Let's form a not-so-secret society of do-gooders. Let's make it our way.
Do you know someone worthy of being a Culper? Tell me their story, and I'll send them one of these custom-made challenge coins. No, actually, I'll send them two. One to keep as a token and reminder, and one to pass along to someone they know who fits the bill.
The story of the coin: The path is straight, and it's narrow. But sometimes, looking at it as it leads toward the city on the hill, we see the undulation of the landscape and think it's pretty twisty. Pretty difficult. But oh, how beautiful shines that place of rest! There's only one way to get there, though.
“Nostra via est facere bona” ... “Our Way is To Do Good.”
How? Well, that's where the reverse of the coin comes in. Let's embrace the spirit of the ash tree--a symbol of sacrifice, sensitivity, and higher awareness.
Let's be Culpers.