On page 378 of The Final Days, we read of the following interaction between two officials in the Nixon Administration, Raymond Price and Ben Stein:
“‘Here’s your chance to do something great,’ Price instructed. ‘Write a speech that will bring tears to the eyes of Americans and demands that the President stay in office.’ Stein took to his typewriter with the old enthusiasm.”
Of course, Richard Nixon never used Stein’s speech, for Nixon resigned from the Presidency rather than staying in office. But this passage makes me think about the topic of rekindling old enthusiasm. What rekindles it? In this case, I think it was Price giving Stein an important mission, an opportunity for Stein to use his talents, and a challenge.
There are times when my old enthusiasm is rekindled. I may see a TV episode or a movie that really grabs me, and I feel inspired to share thoughts about it on my blog, as opposed to doing my usual perfunctory writing. I may read a book or an article, or hear a lecture, in my field of study, and that reminds me of the whole reason that I went into my field in the first place: to encounter thoughts like that! Unfortunately, disappointments can follow. Ben Stein’s speech was not used, and there are times when I can be excited about a thought that I encountered, only to see that thought undermined in another book or article. It’s like cold water being thrown on a flame! Yet, it’s good when the old enthusiasm comes back! Many of us have to persevere without it, and that is an important discipline in itself, but how exciting it is when we get that flame back!