Saturday, February 02, 2008

Magnificently Persistent...

Tonight, I reviewed all of my previous posts, and I noticed a journal entry I made on May 31, 2006 about a remarkable individual. I knew this person then, and I know this person now.

I am happy to say that he is exactly the same today as I described him nearly two years ago. He is magnificently persistent in his treatment of everyone - regardless of their station in life. I count my friendship with him as one of the most profound events of my life.

Why? Because of the leadership qualities, personal integrity, and care for others that he has continued to display over the past two years by personal example. As I mentioned two years ago, he comes by those things naturally. I am continually amazed to this day. His leadership example has encouraged me to change my life, and has enabled me to find strengths that I never realized I had.

The joy he finds in living and his ongoing example of steadfast goodness towards all men and women have encouraged me to realign my purposes in life, to fulfill my own potential, and enabled me to be the strong person I am today. I feel good about myself today because of the influence this person has had on my life. He is unquestionably the most sincere person I have ever known. Others have made that same comment about him, and I am borrowing it from them, and confirming it here. It is indeed the truth.

By way of clarity, I do not want to become my friend. Rather, the example he has set for me has encouraged me to want to be me.

God love you D, your family, and all those who are dear to you.

All is well with my soul...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Evelyn and GBWYTWMA

I have always been fascinated how it is that a handful of experiences in our lives can assume a magnitude so much greater than the many millions of other events that occur on a daily basis.

This entry is about one such meaningful experience in my life and also how it continues to live on. I would like to share it here with those persons I love and care about, and for those others who may read this and wonder if God really cares about them.

From time to time, when I close out communications with people whom I care about and love, I use the acronym GBWYTWMA or "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again."

It is the title of a Christian hymn. I express it as an acronym merely out of convenience. It resides in my heart fully expanded in meaning, and in its prayers for those to whom I say it.

As robust as human life is, it is also a thing of fragile beauty that can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I never want to be parted from anyone again (whether going down the street or across the ocean) without leaving them with those words or that acronym. If I say those words to you, don't worry, I don't mean it as some sort of benediction! I'm not planning on kicking off, nor am I expecting your demise either! It just makes me feel wonderful to know that I've asked God to be with you and guide you and counsel you and surround you until I get to share in your presence again.

In all reality, it is impossible for me to even consider those words without being taken back to the moment, nearly 58 years ago, when they took on a magnitude of meaning in my life that lasts until this day. For me, those words, the title to that great hymn, are linked to God, and how he reached out through others, through Evelyn, and through friends in my life today who touch my life.

So, okay, what about Evelyn? How does she fit into this?

When I was 6 years old, I attended a large Methodist Church and being somewhat of a “show-off” I would march down the center aisle every Sunday morning and evening to sit in the front row all by myself. Usually, there were 3-4 empty rows behind me. I suppose that was due to the size of the church.

When services were over, people would always give me lots of praise for being such a good boy and sitting and listening intently to the sermon. Being a “show-off” I thought I had everyone fooled. Perhaps, I did. I just didn’t fool God. Frankly, I don’t remember too much of what the minister said in those days. I’m not so sure he didn’t find the presence of such a young person staring at him intently for the entire sermon to be a bit disarming. I was a scary kid.

Besides, at that age, it was hard work sitting there, pretending to be interested as he droned on and on. I often entertained myself by looking at the stained glass windows and wondering various things about the images of the disciples and also of Christ. I recall they were always barefooted. I thought that was a cool thing to do, and wondered why I had to wear shoes. But that’s another post, let’s return to the topic.

Near the end of one particular Sunday evening service, the pastor welcomed a new member of the choir whom he noted had taken professional voice training. He said we were fortunate to have her in our choir. She was a soprano. Her name was Evelyn.

At six years of age, from the moment I first saw Evelyn from my front row vantage point, I found myself feeling what I can only describe as my first crush. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Of course, at that age, I had seen many women! On that first Sunday, the minister announced that the benediction on Sunday evening would take the form of word and song and the song would always be: “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.” He commented that Evelyn was to sing the song solo with the choir providing soft backup.

As I said, when I saw Evelyn, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. And, then, when she sang the benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again,” I was certain of it. Evelyn had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. The meaningful way in which she sang the song and the words of the song gripped my heart, and made me want to cry. For, you see, my mother left me at 3 months of age. That hurt, a lot, at that age. In any event, my crush on Evelyn was rather total. I spent the next two years wondering if I could somehow become her boyfriend when I was a little older! Of course, she was an aging 30, and the math simply didn’t work out!

Some Sundays later, I found myself actually pondering the words to Evelyn’s benediction hymn when she sang it on Sunday evenings. The words of the song always spoke to my heart, made me feel that God was always right there for me, and I left church happy. Somehow, I always imagined Evelyn was singing the song to me. It brings a smile to my face now, but Evelyn never knew she had a six-year old boyfriend sitting in the front row waiting to hear her sing “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.”

I never got a chance to tell you, Evelyn, but thank you for letting God work through you to reach out to me when I was a mere child.

Here are the words. The words are by J.E. Rankin and the Music by W.G. Tomer...

God be with you till we meet again, By his counsels guide uphold you,
With his sheep securely fold you, God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus' feet,
Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again, 'Neath his wings protecting, hide you,
Daily manna still provide you, God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again, Keep love's banner floating o'er you, Smite death's threat'ning wave before you, God be with you till we meet again.


With that bit of history unveiled, let me reconnect with the moment … with June 2007.

It occurs to me, all these years later, I have been so incredibly blessed all my life to have always had other people and God’s angels watching over me and protecting me. It has taken me an amazing long time to figure out that I have never been alone since my short little legs took me down the aisle of that Methodist Church at six years of age where I first heard Evelyn sing.

Yes, at the time, I somehow fantasized she was singing that song to me. I now know beyond all doubt that the Lord Jesus was working in my life through Evelyn's beautiful voice.

I heard someone say recently: Dream every day as if you will live forever, and live every day as if it were your last. In that spirit, let me say this…

God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again!!!

I love you all.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 2006 Wish for Everyone

My wish for everyone, whether they be friend or a friend I have yet to meet, is best expressed in this eloquent blessing from Numbers.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

That blessing embodies everything I can imagine on behalf of myself and my friends.

2006 has been the best year ever for me in countless ways, but it has also been a year that has left me hungry for God's blessing; desiring the radiance of God's face, and needing God's graciousness. If ever I felt that I needed peace, it has never been more true than now.

I know I'm not alone in my feelings. Permit me to repeat the blessing for all of us...

"May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord make His face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon us and give us peace."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

All is well with my soul...

30 years ago, I thought all was lost. I was wrong. Way wrong.

Never give up. Never.

Monday, September 11, 2006

So, I've been gone...

Recently, as part of my job, I was in five different countries in less than seven weeks. If one includes the preparation for the trip, there were no days off from the 29th of May to the 12th of August, 2006. In that time, there was never a night in which I slept more than 4 hours. It was the most rigorous adventure I have ever chosen to undertake since my experience in the military. Chosen? Yes, that's the right word. The mission was voluntary.

Nonetheless ... all is well with my soul. I am well, I am happy, I am home.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Something This Way Beautiful Comes...

Recently, I had the good fortune to become friends with an absolutely remarkable individual.

I don't think I have ever encountered anyone who has demonstrated the level of sensitivity and downright respect this man accords to others. I'm not even sure he is aware of his goodness, nor the personal power he commands. Nevertheless, it is a reality and I'm honored to have been touched by his life and to have had the privilege of seeing other men and women around me benefit from his personal warmth, and special presence of being. He is a man among men; a man for all seasons. He does not discriminate, nor bear ill will towards anyone, he treats old and young equally, he honors the dignity of everyone, regardless of that person's station in life, and always makes time for everyone.

That's a pretty rare find in 2006, huh? Probably, that's a pretty rare find at any point in time and space.

His leadership qualities and personal example have motivated me to remember the important things in life, and to return to my own spiritual journey that has been derailed for awhile now. His gentle and understanding nature have warmed my heart, and on occasion, brought tears to my eyes; his delightful honesty and straightforwardness have caused me to reassess my own integrity and value system; and, interestingly, he seems to be clueless that he is even making a contribution to those in the world around him. It just comes natural. As the old cliche goes, "God didn't make no junk."

I love you as a brother, D.

Keep on a keepin' on, man, as you continue your journey! God's blessing on you always.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Uh oh. I missed March altogether!

I like to post at least once each month. No particular reason. It just seems to be an orderly way of maintaining a record. Big deal, I missed a month. I'll do better soon. Do I dare start podcasting? Maybe. It affords more latitude than the written word.

That aside, I want to write a post very soon about friendship. It comes from something I hear all the time. People say they don't have any friends. I'm the same way. I'm always thinking that I don't have any friends. Read on...

The world population estimate as of April 03, 2006 will be 6,451,058,790 people.

Maybe I'm being too selective? Out of all those people I can't find a friend? Tonight, it occurred to me that I should just consider everyone a friend -- whether they want to be friends or not. But, that doesn't seem right either .

Who was it, Will Rogers, the comedian, who presumably said he never met a man he didn't like? Although I've met plenty of people I didn't like I think my standards are too high. Also, my definition of friendship may be wrong. Hmmmm?

Okay, seed planted. That's what's on my mind. I'll post again soon.

Blessings, love, peace -- to each of the 6,451,058,790 people on the planet. My goal is to make that wish unconditional. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.

Until we meet again...