So yesterday was something else.
It seems a huge amount of people were vehemently arguing over whether this dress was blue and black or white and gold.
It made headline news and drew scientific explanations as to why people were seeing different colors.
Oh, yeah – and my friend Bill died.
There’s no other way to describe him than to say he was grand. I met him when I moved to town almost four years ago. He was one of the most senior seniors in the church – a Veteran of World War II. His time in the Army was an immediate bond with this Army Reserve Chaplain and, even though he had been out for decades, the military never got out of him. He would salute me every time he saw me in uniform. He was incredibly active with our local chapter of the VFW honor guard, which meant he and I did several funerals together in uniform. One Memorial Day he was tasked with dropping a wreath in the local lake during the Memorial Day Celebration in honor of the fallen. He was a man of deep patriotism.
Bill was an avid carver and whittler. He was always working on projects and had who knows how many little pieces stashed away. He delighted in giving away various whittled creations. Over the years my family received several whittled Christmas Tree ornaments. He also made me a wall hanging of the cross and a cut-wood version of The Last Supper that I kept above my office door.
Though he didn’t play, Bill was an avid supporter of the church softball team. If the weather permitted and he knew about the game, he was always there. He brought bubblegum for the whole team – the Bazooka Joe gum that you can only chew for 90 seconds before it gets hard and you risk chipping a tooth.
Bill had hearing aids that had to be cranked up for him to hear, but he was faithfully in worship every week. Every once in a while Bill would comment about the volume but it wasn’t a complaint – just a comment. Drums and guitars didn’t seem to bother him. I remember one Sunday I preached a little longer than usual. That usually irks some people. As I was saying goodbye to people at the door, Bill came through the line. I apologized for running a little late and he said, “Sorry?! Why are you sorry?!” (most everything Bill said was sort of half-yelled, probably because of his hearing loss) I said, “Well, I know some people get upset about running late.”
Bill’s response: “So what?! Say what you gotta say!”
He was always encouraging and helpful – doing whatever he could to support every ministry of the church (yes, even the kids ministry!). My wife just talked with him a few days ago, and now he’s gone. My heart is heavy and the world is a worse place losing men like Bill.
But please, let’s keep going on and on arguing about a dress.
There are things in life that matter and things that really couldn’t be less important. People matter. Eternity matters. I’m reminded of the simple prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
(Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)
We worship God.
We embrace His kingdom and His will.
We ask for His sustenance and provision.
We pursue reconciliation with others and with God.
We seek His continued help and deliverance.
That’s it! That’s the only prayer Jesus taught, but it shows us where our focus should be.
There is an eternal perspective that we are missing when we get caught up in ridiculous stories and arguments about colors of dresses. I don’t think Bill would have care one whit about the color of a dress. I KNOW Jesus wouldn’t have cared. Jesus had that long-range perspective – a focus on what really mattered.
The death of friends and family usually makes us take stock of our own lives. What matters? Who matters?
The Dress doesn’t matter to me. I can’t even bring myself to read through an entire article about it. Bill mattered.
Today my prayer is that we can shake ourselves free from the inane things that plague our every day and begin to live lives that matter.