As we met last night with our Sunday night gathering, we shared together the stories of those who have handed us the warm towel… the acts of love that have changed us at the core. Fred, our committed 85-yr old Emergent, spoke up with a story from 3 or 4 years ago. He told us of his experience at Men’s Rite of Passage, a retreat with Richard Groves. “We took our shirts off and beat on drums… We took imitation ox blood and splashed it on our chests. I was the oldest one there… at 83… and they honored me for that. I got to draw the sword out of the stone.” He went on to say that the youngest one there was a bit timid to join in the celebrations, but finally realized that “if ‘ol Fred could do… so can I.”
“That was my warm blanket… and I still remember those times we shared.” I am consistently amazed at Fred, who reminds us to “always believe in miracles.” He would know too, as he just remarried this last January… 84 yrs old! Week after week, he shows up at our gathering, always wanting to be where the action is. And truly, I am reminded that if Fred can do it, so can I.
Thomas Merton wrote in My Argument with the Gestapo, “If you want to know who I am, do not ask me what I eat, where I live or how I part my hair. Ask me what I live for and ask me in detail.”
My hope, my dream, is to be 85 years old and still showing up for the action. To be so full of life, to have lived, and know that my purpose is not yet done. To have the full and lively heart of a warrior, until the day I die… that is my desire.