Archive for November 11th, 2022

November 11, 2022

Say nothing

by Rod Smith

In years of ministry I’ve seen a lot of death and attended many funerals. 

I’ve ridden in the hearse, often for miles, and chatted with funeral directors about all sorts of things, to arrive at a graveside to help a mom and dad remain steady to drop farewell petals into graves. I’ve buried students. My students. Just out of high school. I’ve spoken at the memorials of a handful more where fellow clergy officiated. 

Very sadly, as the cliche goes, all of this comes with the territory, not of leading a congregation, but of being human. If you live in a community. If you know people. If you try, even a little,  to love people, you will walk some distance on this path.

While each death, anticipated or sudden, has its own gravity, when I become aware a teenager has died in a car wreck, whether I know the family or not,  it slays me. I want to go to the family. I want to show up. I have to hold myself back. Stop myself from interfering in business not my own with people who surely already have a support system and a church and a caring community.

I implore you as I implore myself, let no trite cliche insult a family at a time of untimely unreasonable outrageous loss. 

Show up. Be present. Say nothing. Offer no explanation. You have none. 

There is none.

November 11, 2022

Questions each must answer

by Rod Smith

The essential questions each of us must answer, and continue to answer, and are in fact answering with how we choose to live every day, are: “What do you want?” and “What kind of person do you want to be?” 

These crucial questions meld into one another. If we allow them to circle our awareness and we voluntarily offer the questions time for contemplation, we are likely to focus our lives on things that are really important to us. I believe such contemplations will enhance our opportunities of living lives of fewer regrets. 

“What do you want?” will go to the core of who you are and who I am. 

There are three things I want. I want to communicate with others in every possible way that it is possible to live powerful and fulfilling lives. I want to be a good dad. I want to be a good brother, neighbor, and friend. Everything else is a means toward those stated ends. 

“What kind of person do I want to be?” is shaped daily by the deeper desires of what I want. 

If I am faced with an opportunity or a challenge I hear the question circling my awareness waiting for a reply. The reply is not what I write or say or think or believe but lives and breathes in what I do.