Dan Fogelberg had his heart set on his own father as he wrote the following words. “The leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument, and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.” He saw his father through the wide lens of his own life. He was seeing him as he wrote. He was also seeing himself in relation to this man that he so admired and loved.
I was at my father’s house the other day. As I backed my car from his driveway, he stood in the garage and waved. I have no idea how many times this very scene has been reenacted. He lives in that house, alone now. He has been a widower for nearly eight years. While he has many friends, with whom he spends time regularly, I still feel as if I leave him alone.
I have so many pictures of my father. I guess most children do. I too see him through the widened angle lens of my life. I did not know him when he was a youngster, or even a young preacher. Still, there is a picture on my shelf. It is a picture of my father and one if his very best friends. He had just graduated from college. He was not quite twenty-one years of age. While he had been finding places to preach for the previous four years, he was then looking at the dedicated and continuing work of preaching to people in a local congregation. I didn’t know him for about nine more years. And oh, how the years flew. I see moments of every kind. I see him as the young and vital man who would wrestles in the floor with his children. I see him speaking with his deep clear voice. I see him standing at the door of the church building, encouraging everyone who stops to share a moment. I see him carrying his old leather bag, heavy with books and papers. I see him sitting in that old white rocking chair, holding his Bible and notes as he readies for the next sermon or class. I see him with a couple of apples and children on each side of him, as he peels and sections each piece of fruit, sharing the pieces as he goes. I see him helping me to see understand some fine point of scripture as we share a cup of strong black coffee. And I see him waving good-bye.
As I backed from his driveway, I saw an older man. He is eighty-three now. He looks good for his age, but he has still aged. His hair has thinned just a bit, and it is as white as white can be. He is thinner and a bit more worn. His steps are slower, and his eyes are much dimmer, but his mind is still quite sharp. I don’t know how many more times, the scene will be reenacted (I hope for many more years), but every one is a treasure.
It has been over thirty-five years since I loaded my car and left for school. “He will be my preacher”, were the words he repeated. My plans were of a different course, but I found his influence and pattern hard to resist. For those three and a half decades, I have studied and preached. And he has been there every step of the way. In victories and in failures, he has always been near. His big, strong hands were always extended. It is hard for me to imagine the life that might have been. I don’t really want to. For it is what it is. In these latter days, I begin to think more about him. He blood does run through me, and the song of his life is in my soul. I know that the best parts of me are there because he was who he was, and is who he is. When people hear my name, they often ask if I am his son. I smile with pride. If my life shows some imitation of him, I am thankful. I am simply a legacy of the “leader”.
Trackback address for this post
No feedback yet
Leave a comment
|« Thanks-Giving||Free at Last »|