Once upon a time, a boy named Billy was gifted a horse named Brilliance on the day he was born. His family sacrificed greatly to give him the gift because they believed that someday Brilliance would take him somewhere beautiful, a place perhaps they were never able to go themselves. As Billy grew, so did Brilliance, and before long, the boy was big enough to tend to the horse by himself. Brilliance was fed, watered, and exercised. The horse received the best training imaginable, provided by Billy himself, who devoured books on the subject and eagerly and effectively applied the strategies he learned. Brilliance quickly became the best-nurtured and healthiest horse around. Billy rode her to school every day, always eager to learn, and Brilliance never failed Billy through elementary, middle, and high school.

When Billy began searching for his independence, as boys tend to do, he regularly saddled Brilliance and took her for runs beyond the fence, beyond the farm, and even beyond the town where he was raised, a place called Common Sense. These adventures were exhilarating, as the boy quickly learned the true power of Brilliance. Over the years and always together, they visited an outpost called Judgment, a township named Discernment, and a city named Wisdom. Billy marveled that these trips only made Brilliance stronger and more impressive than ever. The boy was keenly aware that the thrill of these rides was partially attributable to the fact that his parents were unaware of his adventures. Like most parents, though, Billy’s mom and dad were well aware of his experiences and had even visited some of the same places themselves. In the end, though, they always returned to Common Sense, a place populated by people who had experienced Judgment, Discernment, and Wisdom on horses far less impressive than Brilliance.

After high school, Billy informed his family that he would be riding Brilliance to a place none of them had visited before. It was a place he had only read about in books, a metropolis known simply as Enlightenment. With their blessings, he made preparations for his trip and set out before sunrise one morning. Brilliance trotted past Judgment, cantered past Discernment, and was at full gallop by the time he flew through Wisdom. As the skyline of Enlightenment became visible on the horizon, Billy changed his mind and decided to see just how far Brilliance would take him. The original destination, Enlightenment, passed by in a fantastic blur, as the horse remarkably managed to pick up even more speed.

Billy held on for his life as Brilliance took him farther than he ever wanted to go. The horse ran until she could no longer run and collapsed at the base of a giant sign that read, “Welcome to Lunacy.” With no horse and no way home, Billy became a resident of Lunacy. He built an ignorantly blissful life for himself there, interacting with other Lunatics and even marrying a local girl. Together with his neighbors, Billy made enlightened, yet illogical, decisions and formulated asinine opinions, which regularly baffled his parents and his friends back home in Common Sense, not to mention the permanent residents of Judgment, Discernment, and Wisdom. For poor Billy, Common Sense was long gone, and he had nothing but his own Brilliance to blame.

The moral of the story is quite simple. If you find you have been blessed with Brilliance, count yourself fortunate, but don’t ride her too far. Lunacy is only a stone’s throw beyond Enlightenment, and there are talks of annexation. Common Sense, Judgment, Discernment, and Wisdom are all better places to settle, in spite of what the Lunatics the Enlightened would have you believe.

Congratulations on your high-school graduation, Eli.  Mom and I are beyond proud of you, and we can’t wait to see what God has planned for you next.  “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”  -Proverbs 4:7

I love you…Dad.

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