Sunday, September 28, 2008

I am old

I am privileged to be the teacher of the youth girls' Sunday school class, and today the lesson focused on Jesus' example of servanthood. Normally, I said, the lesser gives his life for the greater, such as the slave who would taste the wine for the king to see if it was poisonous. Or James Brady throwing himself in harm's way to shield Ronald Reagan. But Jesus was the opposite, a king giving his life for us slaves.

[Oops, correction. Tim McCarthy was the Secret Service guy who leaped in front of Ronald Reagan and was shot in the chest. James Brady was the press secretary who was also shot but not as heroically. Thanks, mdbeachy]

So I was rattling on about this, including the highly irrelevant fact that until Reagan was shot, many of us had no idea that those briefcases the Secret Service men carried actually contained some pretty impressive weaponry. And then I suddenly realized that probably none of these girls even remembered when Reagan was shot. In fact, probably none of them were even born then.

I asked. None were.

I felt very old. I remember it like it was yesterday, my sweet landlady in her Dutchy accent calling me after school at that little one-room school in Minnesota where I taught, and me answering the heavy black rotary-dial phone at the back of the room, and hearing the news, and being all alone in that echoey room, and wondering if Reagan would live or die, and sensing that this was an important moment in history.

Yes, well. The point is that Jesus took the bullet for us. And we ought to respond with gratitude and devotion and service.

Quote of the Day:
"You must feed him a sheep a day!"
--Richard A., my SIL Geneva's dad, when he saw Hansie


  1. you are not alone, I remember it like it was yesterday as well....wasn't it? I was in college. My lovely almost 24-yr-old daughter was not born yet!! :)

    We are not old. We have just lived rich lives!

  2. My husband had a similar experience a few years ago when the space shuttle(Colombia?) exploded. He thought he would go to school and need to comfort his students on the tragedy, but they didn't care at all. Yet how vividly we both remember where we were when the Challenger exploded and how each of our schools mourned for the loss. But they hadn't even been born when that happened.

    My sister has been making her oldest kids watch her favorite movies from the 80's so they can understand all the obscure references we make to 80's pop culture. We are starting to feel old.

    I liked your analogy about how Jesus took the bullet for us. That is a very vivid and understandable way to look at his sacrifice for us.

  3. I like your analogy but feel I must correct a same mistake. Jim Brady wasn't trying to save the President, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to get hit.

  4. My husband made the same comment about Brady...just bad luck, not heroism.

    My husband also told me he waw a bit on RR on PBS the other night. They interveiwed Nancy about the shooting. She said that his comment to her after surgery was "I forgot to duck." And then she knew it would all be okay.

    But I thought, how fitting for him NOT to duck. If you are placed where God wants you--and I have to hope that the leader of the free world is there at least in some part by God's direction--then ducking won't do you a bit of good if it is your time to die. And it's always better to stand up. LIke David and Goliath. David knew God would give them the vicotry, there was no need to fear.

  5. I must be REALLY old, because I remember very vividly sitting in Mrs. Raunick’s fourth grade class, when the intercom was turned on in the public school I attended. The Principal had a radio news broadcast on, announcing that John F. Kennedy had just been shot. Mrs. Raunick got an ashen shocked look. Needless to say there were no more lessons that day.

    We were conservative Mennonites and the radio was forbidden, but my Dad had one, just to listen to the weatherman. After all how was a farmer to know when to make hay, if he didn’t know if there was a forecast for rain? That forbidden radio came out frequently for other things, such as the news, and occasionally for bluegrass shows. I remember sitting at the table after breakfast and Dad was listening to the news, (that came before the weather report), and it was announced that Robert Kennedy was shot.

    I was working as a secretary when Reagan was shot. A company salesman, who was out on the road, heard it on the radio, called the office to let us know what had happened. Another secretary and I ran to a house next door an asked if we can watch the news on their TV.

  6. no no no not old just wise and with lots of experience