Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” (Strength to Love, 1963).
It’s as true today, as it was in 1963. Fortunately, for me. The Lord continues to surround me with examples or character. From my beloved wife to family and friends, both old and new. People who set the standard for me, what it means to be, a man.
Speaking of old friends. I recently had the pleasure of re-connecting with an old friend. Someone I hadn’t seen in about thirty years. We spent about three hours over dinner, getting reacquainted.
We discussed it all. No stone left unturned. From our marriages, to our children, to our lives, struggles, joys, and things we do for fun. Him, golf, me, writing. It was a truly glorious evening spent sharing and laughing. It’s like we never skipped a beat.
The following day, before heading to the airport, to rinse and repeat the cycle of life, I took a detour. Over dinner the previous evening, I learned that my old friend’s mother also lived in town. And while her home was in the opposite direction of the airport, I knew I had to drive over to see her.
She wasn’t just my best friend’s mother. She was also one of my former high school teachers. The type of educator that made a difference in my life. A person full of grace. Of love and compassion. Education wasn’t just a hobby for her, it was her passion. Her calling. She loved teaching, and it reflected in everything she did.
I was able to spend an hour and a half with her, reminiscing on life. I shared with her my personal journey, from accepting Christ to marriage to parenthood to where I am today. She gave me the cook’s tour of her lovely home, making me feel as special that evening as I did those many years ago in her classroom.
Based on the many comments I received across social media, I clearly wasn’t the only one Blessed by this beloved woman.
Before leaving, she said a prayer over me, which continues to touch my heart. It was truly a blessed moment. One I will cherish for a long time.
As I drove to the airport, I thought about thought about Fred Rogers. The “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor…Would you be mine? Could you be mine?” guy.
Back in 1997, before giving his acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, Mr. Rogers reflected upon the many people who helped him get to that evening. Some were there with him in the audience, like his lovely bride. Some were far away. Some were even looking down on him from Heaven.
He stated that all of us have special ones who have loved us into being. He then asked the audience, near and far, to join him in taking ten seconds to think of the people who have helped us become who we are. Those who have cared about us and wanted what was best for us in life. He asked for ten seconds of silence, and then offered to watch the time.
As we approach the end of another year. Another Decade. Another cycle around the sun. Let’s all take a moment to reflect upon the many people who’ve cared about us. Who’ve loved us through the good times and bad. Who’ve wanted the very best for us in life.
Just ten seconds…I’ll watch the time…
Lastly, if you’re interested in getting a copy of Last Exit to Montauk, here’s a link – https://booksirens.com/book/T4SOUHD/93J980B