By Irene F. Starkehaus -
I have many times throughout the years read these words and not fully known them: THESE are the times that try men's souls. With a most cursory glance, we can dimly fumble at what Thomas Paine meant with all that hubristic certainty and sympathy of an inexpert Emma Woodhouse of the Jane Austen variety, but to live in despairing times is to be present in the very moment when Paine took pen to paper in prayer for his beleaguered countrymen.
It is at that moment of isolation when sympathy blossoms into empathy, and we as a people can partake of the full bodied cassis of this sickly-sweet wine that is futility. "Faith is a dark night for man, but in this very way it gives him light."