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Stand Up in Their Presence

When a bereft family enters a chapel, when a Bride walks down the aisle, when the President strides into a room—we stand. We rise up out of respect and deference.

Leviticus 19:32 “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God….”

They smoked Camels, drove with no seatbelts, hung laundry on clotheslines, hunched around radios, then marveled at the black and white TVs with their 3 channels, sat on folding chairs on the lawn at dusk to visit with neighbors, bought $2 of gas a week for their Chevy, left doors unlocked.

They learned to fix things like cars, bikes, tractors, marriages.

They never challenged schoolteachers nor umpires; they trusted the police, made friends with the paperboys, milkman, and mail carriers.

Men marched off to work wearing blue serge suits—like Knights in gleaming armor. Moms were most often home to welcome the kids with fresh baked cookies when they tumbled through the doors after school.

They swatted or switched their kids when defied.

They listened to Big Bands and to Bing and to Grand Ol’ Opry and to WBAP. They were suspect of the young, sensuous, gyrating Elvis and disdainful of the mop-haired Beatles. They secretly wondered about the “sissy” Liberace.

They built our roads, our oilfields, our schools, our communities, our churches. They put their hands over their hearts and sang too loudly when the Anthem played.

They came to church. They opened Bibles, hymnbooks, and wallets. “HOW GREAT THOU ART” and “JUST AS I AM” always brought a gulp and a tear.

Here is to the old folks.

Here is to the Holy few that are left.

Their shoulders stoop—they have carried heavy burdens so long now.

Their hands are wrinkled and gnarled—they have held up so much for so long.

Their hair is gray. Their step is slow. Their time is short. Their faith is immense and stout enough to carry them all the way Home.

1 Response

  1. John, you have such wonderful written skills. I am impressed with the way you often involve traits of the common man. I mentioned it more than once to Monty and he definitely agreed that you should publish your writings. Not only are they valuable, but they are enjoyable as well.

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