Reflecting on our ends

The rhythms of weeks, months, and years provide us the opportunities to reflect on temporal goals and plans, while the death of those we revere prompts us to reflect on life’s ultimate ends.  

As it turns out, today coincides with the conclusion of the workweek and the end of the month. And, this week we are also reflecting on the life and legacy of an American civil rights leader. Yesterday, the New York Times published a reflection from the late John Lewis, who penned an essay to be published posthumously. Here’s an excerpt: 

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.  

Today I would encourage you to read Lewis’s “last words” and consider afresh what is required to live well. Reflecting on his personal journey, Lewis describes the good life in terms of choosing a coherent philosophy (for Lewis it was MLK’s philosophy and discipline of nonviolence); getting into “good trouble” (for Lewis being involved in the “nonviolent change” of the “democratic process”); learning the lessons of history, for “the truth does not change”; and walking in “the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love.”

Not a bad way to end the week, the month, and a good life. 


VIRTUE is the flagship publication of the Institute for Classical Education. It disseminates stories, ideas, research and experiences in classical education to readers across the nation, helping them to pursue the classical ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Subscribing to VIRTUE's mailing list is absolutely free.

VIRTUE Magaizine Issue 07

Sign up today for your copy and join 25,000+ teachers, leaders, and friends of K-12 Classical education.