This morning we have several issues that may be facing our family. Summer is on the way, the kids have final projects and tests looming, Miki and I are debating financial decisions (what to do with money the government thinks we should spend – in other words, bail them out with the money they take from us – how apropo… ) but what’s foremost on my mind is an unfortunate loss of a colleague in ministry by the name of Rev. English. I learned just today he was killed in a car accident last weekend. That shock was followed by the announcement that he would be buried out of town, and the memorial service had already taken place in Miami. In other words, there would be no paying of respects, no final viewing. He’s gone and gone.
This gentleman was a musician in a local small church, and we ran into each other frequently in Baptist conventions and church engagements in central Miami. He was always gregarious, laughing, kind of the off – kilter uncle that talks a little too loud and leans in a little too close, but you know he can’t help it. He also wasn’t the most skilled musician, but he was always there at every function. Mostly though, he was almost overly impressed by my playing. That always made me feel good, even a little uncomfortable, knowing that an older musician looked up to me. I was even thinking of starting a church musician course with musicians like him in mind – people that have been faithful for years but never had adequate or continuous training in music theory or piano technique. In this way I hoped to give back to my forebears in church music while forging a new path. Now, it seems at least for one soldier, I waited a bit too long.
The point I take from this is that as the younger generation watches the older ones pass to reward, we must face the fact that we can’t wait for our older days to come before beginning to forge our legacies. The way we deal with our elders is part of the legacy we leave – if it be kindness or neglect. In many respects our parents now look up to us. We have the advantage technologically, of course, and socially we may be more knowledgeable and understanding of relationship techniques and parenting skills, but they will always have the edge of knowing that life is longer and more complicated than we ever see at the present. Our elders have that sense of timelessness, of the principles that don’t change with presidents or pundits, new preachers or popular TV shows. No, they are not perfect, but they’ve proven through lifetime experience that they don’t have to be. And maybe we should take a clue from them, like I do from Rev. English, that being all God made you to be is the highest form of perfection one can hope to attain. May God add wings to the prayers for his family.
Looking unto the hills,