Sunday, February 12, 2006

Of Heroes & Ordinary Men

A valley of wildflowers, a distant mountain, an attractive person seen across a crowded room...all of these things can inspire admiration or desire. However oftentimes when we journey to that valley we find its beauty to be marred, and mountaintops are sometimes more inspiring when left seen from across a room often proves superficial or deeply flawed when confronted by something as simple as conversation.

Despite being married and being blessed with a wondrous family, the number of people whom I know well enough to be able to genuinely say,"I wish I could be more like him or her" - to pattern my life after - is discouragingly small.

This is a sad reality made sadder by the acknowledgment that much of it is due to my own meet and open myself up to more people so that they will do likewise...part of it is due also to the fact that a lot of people talk a good game but a small scratch of the surface reveals character flaws or a lack of character altogether.

This is not a blanket comdemnation of my flaws, mankind, nature or even folks with breast implants. It's simply an observation.

Admiration is often easiest from a distance.

But when you find that rare exception it's's a privilege, a blessing...a true honor.

Today our church said a simple thank you to my friend, Ben. I've mentioned Ben on several previous occasions...he's provided me with counsel, he's worshipped God with me on our knees before a cross, and while coated in sweat and dirt toting a weedeater. He's soothed my shaky psyche during some of the most difficult times of my life by simply listening and he's shaken up my entire perspective on numerous occasions by listening intently to my babbling and then uttering a few words of profound awe inspiring wisdom.

I am proud to call Ben my friend, but more importantly I am honored that he apparently feels the same.

Our church thanked Ben today for his long service as an Elder, a position from which he recently "retired" so that he could devote his energies to other things - teaching children about Christ's love, working on the church landscaping, perhaps taking a mission trip to one of the cruelest places on earth for children to show them something they've rarely if ever seen...unconditional love.

It's an amazing thing...amazing because of the devotion to God he demonstrates in this way...and amazing because for Ben there is no other way to live.

Thank you, Ben.

And thank You Father, for allowing me the privilege of knowing such a man.

Through him I have come to to know You so much better.