Textbooks and Text People
This week I am finalizing the cleaning out of my office so that Paul can begin to set up his office. It has been challenging and somewhat painful. I would estimate that since I did not use computers in writing my sermon, I had to divest myself of at least 90% of the sermons I have written over the last 42 years. I also had given away about 80% of my books previously as I was preparing to move to MUMC three years ago. This week I have given away or taken for recycle almost every book of the other 20% in my church office. This has been an occasion for grief as the books and sermons served as “evidence” of my knowledge and productivity. They showed that I was a “professional.” Now they are gone. Who am I now? What do I have to show for these 42 years? It is somewhat sobering.
HOWEVER, I remembered something the great rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “What we need more than anything else is not more textbooks but more text people.” It was then that I realized that my journey of learning is far from over with my retirement. While there will certainly be new books to read, there will definitely be people around me from whom I can learn more about this life of faith. Through observation of, and relationship with them, I will surely continue to grow and change.
ALSO I am reminded that my life amounted to much more than sermons preached and lessons taught; just as in your own life, my greatest and most lasting contribution will come through the relationships which I have had.
In the same way, your lives continue to teach even when you are not aware of it through your love and example. People may not remember exactly what you said to them, but they will long remember that you were there and that you cared.
There is no library in the world big enough to hold all that your lives have taught and shown others about life. How do I know that? I have watched you for three years. And I have been blessed.