Life has become unusual with our ever present companion, Covid-19. Because life has become disrupted, I note that I have come to focus inward instead of toward the outside world. This has lead, for better or worse, to fewer blogs from me. But I do not want for this blog to be about me but the world I encounter around me. This post is a second one about my friend, Sam. Sam recently passed. I have already posted about Sam’s passing but I have had some further thoughts. With these posts I am not attempting to create a word monument to Sam as, I am sure, he would look on that endeavor with overwhelming disdain.
Recently I was sent a copy of the notes used for Sam’s memorial service. Reading it, I became aware of a very interesting difference in perspective between the eulogists relationship with Sam and my relationship with Sam. I knew Sam as a young man ready to take on the world. The eulogist knew Sam at the end of his life, a man who had taken on the world. My recollection is through a fog of fifty five years. The eulogist’s is crystal clear in the moment. Sam had become quite an accomplished individual and one who was “humble” and very giving of himself, his knowledge and understanding of the way life is. The following are from the notes used for the eulogy starting with the biblical references used:
Acts 26: 24,25 (ASV)
1 Corinthians 3 :18 (I assume ASV)
2 Timothy 4:13 (NKJV)
Let it be known that I am no biblical scholar so anything that I might say or even hint at regarding theology should be taken with a truly large grain of salt. Drawing from these texts the eulogist made the following notes to describe the man Sam had become:
“How do we begin to describe Bro Sam? There are many adjectives which we could use to describe him, depending on the length of time one knew him. I would use adjectives such as quiet reserved, intent, always inquiring. As a college professor, study was continually necessary to adequately convey fact and appreciation to his students.
“Higher education is a two edged sword – either the person is benefitted personally to recognize and truly appreciate the cumulative knowledge of mankind, as well as the vastness of God and His creation, and to be able to pass that appreciation on to others, or it warps the personality and mental process to induce artificial arrogance, pride, and stupidity that we are witness to in this present time in our nation.
“It takes a truly humble person to realize he/she doesn’t know everything. As one progresses higher and higher in educational circles, there is a tendency to wrap oneself in the mantle of ‘whatever you want to know, just ask me!’ The resultant obnoxiousness destroys any credibility they might have had.
“It is to the glory of God and to Bro Sam’s credit that he rejected the dangerous side of higher education. He was in the less that two (2) percent of Americans who had an earned PhD, and yet he never brought it up.” It has been a privilege for me to have seen and remembered Sam at the beginning of his life’s journey and to see him toward the end of his journey. I remember Sam as smart, talented and energetic young fellow. He was full of life. He was ready and anxious to take on the world. Then life happened as it happens to all of us. I am sure Sam had challenges and disappointments. Likewise, I am sure that he had triumphs and joy. I have no idea if Sam amassed wealth, we never talked about money. I am sure that the eulogist painted an accurate word picture of the man that Sam had become. He seems to have turned out to be a pretty accomplished individual. It is also interesting for me to note that Sam had become to have serious religious convictions. It is also interesting to me that both he and I have embraced Christianity although by different paths. Sam has truly passed from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant. If words are said over me at the end of my life, it would be great if they were to approach the delight of those that were said over Sam.
Thought it would be interesting to add photos of Sam:
By the way, want to see what I looked like when I knew Sam?