Friday, February 17, 2017
Not long after arriving in Belvidere nearly a dozen years ago, I had lunch with my favorite mayor of all time at the Huddle.
Best chicken Caesar salad ever!
Trying to get to know Belvidere and Boone County a little better than I'd always appreciated since moving to the stateline area about five years before that, I asked, "Tell me, Fred, does Belvidere identify more with Rockford or Chicago?"
Immediately without blinking with a calming smile, he answered, "Belvidere."
Now that Fred's not doing that anymore, it's safe to betray a confidence that he shared avec moi as District 100 was being split into North and South; and it's also now safe for me because my boys have matriculated on to law school and college and I can root for the Thunder and Bucs with almost equal passion.
"Tell me, Fred, though you can't say it publicly as mayor of a town that's now got two high schools vying for money, attention, and loyalty, how do you feel as a graduate of BHS?"
"I'll always be purple and gold," he replied without blinking and with a calming smile.
It's a really important quality that's vanishing in America and so many of her churches.
If you're "thundering" up North or "swashbuckling" down South, don't pretend you've got mixed loyalties if you don't.
It's like I tell employers of all persuasions, "Assuming call and competence, the three most important qualities of an employee are loyalty, loyalty, and loyalty."
Maybe that's why I have so much trouble with flag-burners, Democrats, Republicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and...
How can we trust anyone who forgets the most primary loyalty in life and eternity?
If I have to explain that to you, God bless your soul.
The preceding came to mind because somebody just called me to go to a seminary reunion.
Though I've got more diplomas in the cellar collecting dust than cigars in my humidor that used to hang on the walls of my study before I got the first few of the big ten, I've only been to one reunion.
It was my 10th high school version.
First and last.
Aside from having no interest in going back to my college or seminary or other places where I picked up parchments because of how they've increasingly distanced themselves from who they pretend remains the reason for their genesis, I had two experiences at my first and last reunion that have soured moi on the whole thing.
First, everybody was hopping around to Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" like Cub Scouts in heat. It was almost as awful as going with Billy and his sweetheart to a dinner dance and listening to rap music for three hours.
When I think of reunions, I think of Frank Drebin who said in Naked Gun 2 1/2, "Real nice party, Hapsburg, I see a lot of familiar face-lifts."
Second, within seconds of the music heating up everybody, Ruthie, my first real girlfriend of consequence who dumped me for a guy who later became quarterback for the Giants and Eagles, came up to me and said, "Bobby, save the last dance for me."
Internally, I said, "Feet, do your duty!"
I left before Meatloaf got to "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."
Of course, I am into some reunions, especially the biggest one, and I'll get to that after a few more paragraphs.
I like those small reunions in time; when people overcome what has separated them, make up, and move into the future to prove reconciliation isn't just for love stories by Erich Segal starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal.
Love means more than saying you're sorry.
It's acting, more than less, in ways that prove you're sorry.
Of course, that doesn't always happen in time.
Some relationships never recover and remain broken.
Fortunately, in heaven, there's no room for any of those pejoratives.
That's because, as Jesus said in describing heaven, it's paradise.
When young all-star pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins died so tragically back in 2016, a friend said, "Those memories will never fade and one day I will see you again. I truly believe that, then we can talk about everything we didn't get the chance to."
Yeah, there are some really good reunions in time.
But the biggest and best one is coming.
What's so good about the biggest reunion by grace through faith in Jesus is everyone will be reunited, reinvigorated, reconciled, and rejoicing.
It will be...paradise...and, unlike every other experience in time, it will last forever.
Blessings and Love!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!