Wednesday, November 20, 2013

goodword

I have been in the process of migrating a list of email contacts from one server to another this past month. The list has been compiled over the course of about 15 years, so it contains quite a number of names.

At first I tried following some instructions that were intended as a shortcut for this process. The problem was: these two email clients did not want to speak each other’s language ("syntax errors"—too many niggles to clean up).

So, I resorted to good ol’ fashioned “cut and paste”. At first, this was a little annoying, but now I can honestly say: I’m glad I’m a technological dolt.

Each name summoned prayer, gratitude, cherished memories and renewed hope for the future.

Many of those reading this know you are on that list. I can see you in my mind’s eye.

I know you from…
Barcelona
Madrid
Carcavelos
Hoofddorp
Brussels
Brantford
Den Haag
Coeur d’Alene
Tanger
Indianapolis
Spokane
Gothenburg
Toronto
Denver
Nice
London
Quito
Brasilia
Wheaton
Barry
St. Paul
Chicago
Thousand Oaks
Pembroke Pines
Colorado Springs
Portland
San Francisco
Cañon City
Melrose

We have shared stories of heartache and triumph. You brought encouragement when it was needed. You gave gifts that helped me and my family get through some tough times.

Some of you are friends I have had since I was a teenager. Some of you knew my wife when she was a baby. All of you are cherished.

Today, I read some advice from an old woman (now deceased) whom Carl Sandburg said wrote “the best book ever written about how to write.” She said that when we write we should not worry about using all kinds of fancy words. Just write the straight, honest truth.

Yesterday a friend told me a story about his father who had just passed away. The father had had a falling out with another man in his town. To set things right, the man wrote a letter to the deceased. My friend said, “It would have been nice if dad had heard those things before he passed.”

The word eulogy simply means “goodword”. It has nothing to do with death but we have somehow reserved eulogizing for a time that is, quite frankly, too-late. So, I got to thinking, “Why not eulogize the living?”

I decided now was the perfect time to act on these two recent impressions: eulogize the living—you don’t have to be fancy about it. So, here goes:

I prayed for you as I tapped and clicked my computer keyboard. I could see each face. I thought well of you. Each of you possesses unique dignity. I ask forgiveness for those times I wronged you. I grant forgiveness for those times you wronged me.

I do not deserve to be called your friend. It’s humbling to know you.

I thank God for you and my goodword to you is simple: God’s real. He’s nearer than you know. He sees you always in love. He offers nothing but joy. He sings over you and has good things in store for you. He can be found but never mastered. He’s elusive and intimate.

Receive freedom. Live in grace. Savor beauty.

Amen.




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