Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Liz's surgery . . .

My wife Liz will be undergoing another surgery on Friday (Nov. 3rd) for a brain tumor. Please keep her in your prayers. The hospital where the surgery is being performed is two hours away, so I will be staying at a hotel near the hospital for the estimated five days Liz will be there.

When there’s time, I will post updates as to Liz’s medical situation. I will be at her side during her recovery, and I will probably have ample time to pray and reflect. When I return to the hotel after visiting hours, if any of the day’s thoughts seem remotely worthy of your attention, I will post them.

What comes to mind for some reason is this:

I had the good fortune to know Howard Thurman, a wise and faithful black Protestant preacher and spiritual counselor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. I didn’t know Thurman well, but I met with him in his home a few times, and I heard him preach on a few occasions. He had been the dean of the chapel at Howard University in Washington, DC. In 1944, he received a letter from a group of people in San Francisco who were trying to start an interracial congregation. He was asked if he knew any newly ordained ministers who might be willing to come to San Francisco, live on practically nothing, and help launch the new congregation. He wrote back: Mrs. Thurman and I would love to!

I don’t know much about the events of those early days, but Dr. Thurman told me one thing that has stuck with me, and which comes to mind when I think of Liz, who has the faith that moves mountains. Dr. Thurman said that at one critical point he had to say to those who were on the verge of giving up hope: “Trust it with my trust until you can trust it with your own.” That, it seems to me, is the essence of both parenting and any education that is worthy of the name.

Howard Thurman was at the other end of the religious spectrum from the Roman Catholicism and the rich baroque sacramentality that is my meat and drink, but he was a living sacrament himself, a man of great integrity, whose faith contributed to mine at a critical moment in my life.

When dark uncertainties loom, the faith of those who have gone before us shines like a beacon.

Howard Thurman, 1900-1981, may he rest in peace.

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