Friday, January 13, 2012

You are Needed on the Sidelines Coach...

Nobody has been blessed with good mentors and coaches to the extent that I have.  I have worked with some incredibly talented and patient professionals over the years. My internship with Willard Tate at a little country church in Hamby in 1986 and 1987 was an experience I will never forget. Willard was a great role model. He was ahead of his time in a lot of ways.  8 years in Wichita Falls as an associate minister in two different roles was highlighted by working with one of the most talented mentors in ministry that has ever entered the profession in my opinion!

As I worked on both of my graduate degrees, Dr. Charles Siburt walked alongside providing academic, professional, and personal encouragement that has been truly priceless.

As 2012 gets underway, I am facing some painful realities. Willard Tate is deceased. I still think of him often and recall in detail my final conversation with him not long before his death.  Dr. Siburt is facing an extremely serious illness that has him hospitalized in Dallas at this very moment receiving an intense and aggressive combination of six chemo therapies.  Thankfully my longtime mentor from Wichita Falls Larry Suttle is healthy! I had lunch with him today.  But Larry is at that that time in life where he is caring for his aging parents.  It comes as no surprise to me.  He is doing it with a lot of grace and patience. I realized at lunch today that I am not the 25 year old kid that sat in his office for the first time almost 25 years ago.

It has occurred to me over the past few days that it is my turn.  It is my turn to come in from the field and be stand on the sidelines as a coach. It is time for me to be the coach and mentor. Quite frankly I really don’t relish the idea. I am perfectly content to just play in the game! 

I have always counted on Dr.Siburt to be there when I needed good counsel. He always knew just what to say.  And he never spared my feelings!  He just called it straight. He has consistently kept me from doing foolish things over the years. Now I must be the responsible one.  Now I must be the rock for of Gibraltar for someone else. 

I readily admit I am not ready for this responsibility.  I still feel young and immature. I am still making so many mistakes. I have a lot more to learn. Am I really prepared to send the plays in for someone else?  

It is excruciatingly painful to watch Charles suffer. But I have realized this week the best gesture of friendship I can offer to him is to step up to the plate and offer those close to me what he has given me over the years. I learned from the best. 

Surely good shall develop from his loyal investment of time in my life and ministry. I was privileged to visit with him in his office the week before Christmas. He told me he was proud of me and that he loved me. I am going to keep that image close as I prepare to stand on the sidelines.  I am hearing the call.  A simple call to be the coach on the sidelines for the next generation. 

1 comment:

Brock Paulk said...

soooo...when are we meeting?