Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When I Grow Up, I am Going to Build Sandboxes

I don’t like to cry at funerals. But today I cried at a funeral. I went to Mr. McBroom’s funeral today.  His name was Henry, but I think my mother would really not want me to call a 90 year old man by his first name, so I out of respect for her I will refer to him as Mr. McBroom.  He was one of my kind…You know he was in the ministry.  And he was one of the good ones…

The preacher that officiated today did an exceptional job. He talked about Mr. McBroom’s family. And he referred to his service to our country during World War II. And he pointed out that he had been married to his wife for 70 years. I was enjoying the service so much…But then his comments became far  more personal. 

Did I tell you? I don’t like to cry at funerals.  But the preacher started reflecting on Mr. McBroom’s relationship with him over the past twenty years or more. It seems that Mr. McBroom showed up at the preacher’s house unannounced one day.  He had built a sandbox for the preacher’s children. How can you not like people who like your kids?

Mr. McBroom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at some point during his retirement years. But he did not let that stop him from writing encouraging letters to his preacher. The letters were difficult to decipher, because his ability to write was impaired by the Parkinson’s.  All of us struggle with our kids. Even preachers struggle with their kids.  Surprisingly enough we are human. And our children are too. Kids are going to make mistakes.  And even preacher’s kids have to experience the pain of growing up.  During a difficult time period with one of his children Mr. McBroom wrote his preacher a letter. He was quick to point out that the letter did not contain any predictable clichés like “Let go and let God.”  It was one of the letters that was hard to read, because the penmanship was not exactly the best. But the content was priceless…

I hate crying at funerals, but when I hear about people that reach out to preachers when that preacher’s child is in some mess I can’t help it.  PK’s as they are sometimes called (preacher’s kids) are not always on the receiving end of grace.  And their moms and dads can become easy targets too when they miss the mark as parents.  How can you not love people that love your kids? And furthermore how can you not love people that extend grace and encouragement to you when you are struggling with your kids as they grow up? And that is what Henry did for the man that officiated at his funeral today.  Yes….He is Henry to THAT man.  You don’t forget people that loved your kids as they grew up. They become near and dear to you. 

I really hate to cry at funerals, but my heart was touched today. Henry was one of my kind.  He was in the ministry.  But more importantly he loved preachers and their kids. He was one of the good ones. When I grow up, I am going to build sandboxes and write letters….And I am going to think about a man named Henry that was born in 1923.  

No comments: