One Sunday, our Pastor was making a point about our insignificance. He described this well known statue near Wisconsin’s State Capital. When he shared details of this man made of metal, riding a horse, many people nodded that they were familiar with the statue. The Pastor asked the audience of 800 or so Madison area folks who could tell him the name of the guy the statue was made to commemorate.
My day job involves promoting the city of Madison. I was blank; no idea who the guy on the horse was.
The point our Pastor was making was this: Look at this guy that was so important, people made a statue of him for cripes sake. Yet, we don’t remember him. What about all of the people who have come and gone who do NOT have a statue? What do we remember of them? Who will remember us?
Not one person, eventually.
Gee. Thanks, Pastor. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I’m going back to bed. I see no point.
I guess the Pastor actually meant this as a pep talk. Like, quit your worrying, pal. Won’t be long before you’re dead and gone, and no one will care one bit about what you’re worried about today.
A real crowd pleaser.
I didn’t really mind this reminder. I interpreted it as a message from God: We’re not as big of deal as we think we are, and neither are the things we worry about. So, please. Let’s all just calm down.
This week I helped my Mom move my Aunt into assisted living. I tried really hard to act like one of my older sisters, and pull my weight. I avoid being in charge. I did a medium job of it. I kept getting side tracked. There were the best photo albums, and lots of stories. I LOVE STORIES.
My Great Grandpa was an intelligent and well educated man. He played basketball for the University of Chicago in the 1890’s. He raised a family, and before he died he was the Superintendent of one of the largest school districts in Wisconsin. According to my Aunt and Mom, my Great Grandpa was ambitious and curious. He was always reading. His ambition led him to a variety of Administrator positions in education. He had little personal time. Most of the child raising was left to Great Grandma.
One of the last big things my Great Grandpa tried to do was develop a new program called, “Industrial Education” (Tech Ed) in public schools. Grandpa thought, “Wouldn’t it be useful to train students who were not likely to pursue secondary education in more useful skills like, welding, home economics, and auto mechanics? Wouldn’t this training help prepare these students without the resources or inclination to go to college to find jobs that match their interests and skills after high school?”
The school board said that would NEVER catch on; they rejected Great Grandpa’s proposal.
This rejection caused Great Grandpa anxiety and frustration, but not enough to squelch his ambition entirely. Grandpa soon went on to run for Mayor of the city of Eau Claire. He did not win.
The only record we have of what happened next was Great Grandpa’s obituary. The obituary actually says this, “He died of a mental breakdown after a short illness”. He was 59 years old when he died. My Dad said that the back to back disappointments wreaked havoc on Great Grandpa’s health, and mental health, apparently.
Thank you, God. For a glimpse of my Great Grandpa’s story. It sounds like it ended in tragedy; here I am living my happy life, having had no idea.
What if God could allow us to go back in time? I’d love to whisper in Great Grandpa’s ear that he needn’t worry. His sense of failure was only an illusion. Soon to be forgotten by everyone (until his Great Granddaughter blogged about it). In the end, nothing he did, or said,or contributed would be measured or remembered. The only thing permanent was his soul. I hope he took good care of it.
Here are some good looking people for you to see. That’s my dad with the glasses, and his cute little girlfriend (Mom), on his right. My Grandma is next to her, and my Aunt and Uncle are on the other side of my Dad.
I found all sorts of pictures of my family standing around the piano, singing jolly ol’ tunes. The pain I endured.
I’m sorry. Maybe this is breaking the rules, but PULEEEZE, enough with the singing already. It isn’t for me. No one believed me in my family. Every one of those suckers was born holding a musical instrument with a melody in their heart. I swore to Mom and Dad they were wasting their hard earned money on me. Not to mention the years I took off my piano teacher’s life.
My protests fell on deaf ears.
Now my parents know. They accept that I have no talent, and even less interest.
What no one wanted to admit, but what I always KNEW, was that I was born to do was Dance. And wear sequins and fringe:
And, just because I can’t stop, let’s end all this with a look at Mom’s “Swiss Miss” stage: