for old times sake

I can't remember now what year it was, but one New Year's Eve with Mom and Dad, I remember her recalling that there was a tradition of "sweeping out the old, sweeping in the new" - and with that those of us who had gotten together to celebrate the new year grabbed the broom, filed out the front door, ran around the house, and swept the new year into the back door.

But now, new year's celebrations for me involve munching something, watching something, tuning in to some television station to watch the crystal ball descend in Times Square, New York City, and then crawl into bed.

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Remembering the Fallen

December 7, 1941.  Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.

2,403 killed. 1178 wounded.  Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships.

December 7, 2016 - seventy-five years later. The men and women of the Naval Academy Glee Club honor those lost in the attack.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
William Whiting (1860)

Eternal Father, grant, we pray,
To all Marines, both night and day,
The courage, honor, strength, and skill
Their land to serve, thy law fulfill;
Be thou the shield forevermore
From every peril to the Corps.
J. E. Seim (1966)


For Good

I've not seen the Broadway musical, Wicked, but I have listened to the music. One of my favorite tunes is a duet by the good witch Glinda and the wicked witch Elphabah.  It speaks to how people come into our lives - sometimes for better, sometimes not. Whatever the result, there is always change.



"there is no try"

One of the cable TV channels has been broadcasting all six episodes of the Star Wars saga. It has been fun watching these movies in order.  I had to laugh when Episode 2 was shown and remembered that after the second time seeing the movie I thought it was one of the worst movie stories of the entire series.  The special effects were great, but the story and the acting -- simply awful.

Then, this afternoon, I tuned in Episode 5, The Empire Strikes Back. This was the movie that made sure that the third movie in the first trilogy would have to be made simply to answer all of the story questions raised.  But it was also the movie that, at the time, was one of the most powerful movie scenes about faith I had seen at that point in life.

As I watched the scene again, I was convinced that this is the scene which is my favorite in the entire movie series so far.  I have parts of "The Clone Wars" animated series that I think are wonderful, but this one is my favorite:


of the days that are no more


Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

    Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

    Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

    Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

- "Tears, Idle Tears", Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

the treasure of friends

Not everything found in a treasure hunt is pleasant.

I was again moving and sorting library books and a letter fell from a book that was headed to the recycle pile. Of course, I'm a curious old fart, so I had to sit and see what was in the letter.  There was no return address. The stamps, one of which was put on the letter upside down, were of Australia. The stamp cancellation was faded but appeared to say March or May 1988. That was toward the end of year of internship while I was attending Dallas Theological Seminary.

It was a letter from an Australian I had met at DTS who was, in a word, rambunctious. If ever I have met a person who seemed to be the idea youth pastor type, it was Garry Eadon.  Garry always seemed to have a smile on his face and was the kind of person you just couldn't be sad around.  His smile, his infectious laugh, his exuberance for life were but a few of his many qualities. His letter was a "here's what has been happening with me" update letters that used to be printed up and mailed out to all the people who were on a mailing list. He was busy about the ministries which had bouncing from place to project to people. He had hit the ground running upon his return to Australia and I'm guessing he never looked back.

Of course, in this day of instant information and social media, I immediately wondered if he could be located. So I grabbed the Garry_eadon keyboard, typed in his name, and pressed enter.

Sometimes when you hunt for treasure, the results are not as expected.

I found him, but I also found some sad news about Garry.

From the little I could locate about him, Garry passed away after having contracted an illness on a missionary trip. The one picture I found of him showed him smiling and healthy, married, with a lovely wife and three beautiful children. I could not find a full obituary. The funeral was in May.

I sat back in my chair, held the letter in my hand, and thought back to the short time I had known Garry when I was in Dallas. He was the sort of person that you only need to meet once and they impress you for a lifetime.  He had sent me his form letter update -- but he had also taken the time to write a short note to me at the bottom of his letter:

Bill, I'm trying to get hold of a 'mug' for your mum. How are you mate? Please stay in touch. I'm fine - a lot of things going on - but still want to come back your way some time. Stay kool for the King, Bill. Sincerely Garry

I folded the letter up, stared out the window for a few minutes, and placed the letter among some other keepsakes. We didn't keep in touch, and I have no idea whether he ever came back to the states. The few details I could locate seemed to show he had become busy with a family and his ministry and until I see him again in Heaven, I'll have to be content with that.

Life is incredibly short but the journey is full of wonderful things. I'm thankful for the moments I had to chat with Garry and for the honor of knowing him. Not only will we enjoy the presence of the Savior when we find ourselves "finally home", but we can also look forward to those reunions that I'm sure will take place in the streets and dwellings of the place He has gone to prepare for us (John 14:2).

Well done, Garry. See you there, mate!