What Others Say

I always enjoy your Saturday columns in the "Trib". The one today was particularly good, thank you for writing it.

Gary J. - MacGregor, TX

Monday, December 10, 2018

Our Fiftieth

Next week my wife and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary.  How did this happen?  Where did the years go?  I always thought people who reached their 50th were old.  Why aren’t we?

 December 21, 1968 we exchanged vows.  I lifted her veil, kissed her and we left the altar hand-in-hand to start a journey that has spanned half a century.  Apollo 8 launched the day we were married, the first manned flight to leave earth’s orbit.  Neither of us imagined the journey we started that day would take us “to the moon and back.”  Or so it seems.

We have embraced orphans in Brazil and fished for piranha on the Amazon; sipped coffee in the mountains of Guatemala and the coast of Colombia; stood at the pyramids in Egypt, the same structures that greeted Abraham and Sarah;  visited Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in Australia; stood on the rocky shore of New Zealand; watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace; viewed Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistene Chapel and visited St Peter’s Basilica; walked along the canals of Venice; stood on the mountains overlooking Salzburg; watched the striking of the clock in Prague; spent a summer in  Nuremburg and rode the trains across Bavaria;  visited Luther’s House in Wittenburg and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s home in Berlin; toured Lenin’s tomb in Moscow and the DMZ between North and South Korea;  stood on the shore where the tsunami hit Banda Ache, Indonesia.  We have walked where Jesus walked, along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

We grew up in Texas, spent 8 winters in Minnesota and now live in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. You can go a lot of places and see a lot of things in 50 years.

We have experienced sorrow and loss, the death of parents and loved ones. We have wept beside their caskets, said our goodbyes and comforted one another.  We have known discouragement and disappointment.  We have celebrated victory and accomplishment. We have wondered in awe at the miracle of children and grandchildren.  We have experienced God’s presence, seen His glory and worshipped in many languages.

God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah have become personal, charged with meaning and memory: “Go forth from your country and from your relatives and from your father’s house to the land which I shall show you … and I will bless you … and I will make you a blessing.” 

At our wedding  my college roommate sang Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us.  It is still our song.
Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us, be the Guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.
Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and pow’r to free.
Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.

Our faith, our gratitude and our love for one another is far deeper than it was on that day we started our journey 50 years ago.  We know that old age will come, dying will come and our parting will come.  But we know better than we knew in our youth that His grace is sufficient.  His promise is true.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Legacy of Light: Georgy H.W. Bush

I first saw George H. W. Bush at a Fourth of July picnic in Lake Jackson, Texas, a slender young politician in his mid-40s running for congress.  He won the election and later served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Vice President with Ronald Reagan before being elected President of the United States.  His son, George W. and I are the same age.

I have always been impressed with George H.W. as a man of integrity, honesty, character, courage and faith.  He embodied the qualities that Tom Brokaw described as “the greatest generation.”  Not least in the legacy of President Bush was his devotion to his wife, Barbara and the support they shared in the death of their daughter, Robin.

 I saw the same qualities in my father, a blue-collar worker with Bell Telephone who was devoted to my mother, raised 3 sons and served as a deacon in his church. He died at 53 of cancer.

It is good for our nation that we will spend this next week remembering a leader with the qualities of George H.W. Bush.  A world awash with lies, accusations, falsehoods, greed, self-serving, prejudice, fear and faithlessness needs to be reminded of the higher standards that can sustain us.

Abraham Lincoln referred to “our better angels.”  President Bush referred to “a thousand points of light.”  At his 1989 inaugural he said, “I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding.”

President Bush later spearheaded the formation of the Points of Light Foundation that encourages volunteers to engage solutions for their communities.  According to their website, Point of Light has a global network of over 200 affiliates in 35 countries working with thousands of non-profits to mobilize volunteers world-wide.

Most of us will never be rich or famous.  All of us, regardless of our occupation or income, can make the world better.  Whether we are garbage collectors, janitors, cashiers, factory workers, salesmen, technicians, nurses, maids or executives, we will all leave a legacy.  Most of us will have children and grandchildren. We all have classmates, friends and co-workers. Every life counts. Every life makes a difference.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the room. So let your light shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14-16).

In a dark and desperate world, when increasingly it seems people practice dishonesty, deceit and immorality in the shadows of secrecy, perhaps we can heed the legacy of our former President and live in such a way that we turn the world from darkness to light.

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth let us be reminded that “ In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4).