Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"One in spirit and purpose" - Words for an octogenarian..

OKay, you're wondering... so why did Derek fail to post on his blog yesterday...? The answer is that even the most disciplined blogger can be unwilling to get up an extra hour early on a busy day to post.

I was up dog-walking by 6:15 as per usual, then I was off to the golf course with my favorite son-in-law to cash in my "closest -to-the-pin" pair of free rounds, then off to Orlando (Apopka) for an 80th b/day party. All this - while enjoying the company of house-guests - threw me off rhythm just enough to shut down the writing.

The reason for extra house-guests was the Apopka party. Myrt Hubbard Alexander turned 80 and she was doing it in grand style (Myrt -a life-long English teacher and the unofficial queen of Apopka) was married to Rebekah's dad, Bob Alexander, the last few years of his life). It's really quite a testimony to her life that so many people came from as far away as Connecticut, New York and California simply to be there, and to honor her by eating good food and enjoying one-another's company.

As I often do, I had a few words stuck in my back-pocket "just in case". I planned on keeping them there, just handing the page to Myrt later, but - apart from excellent toasts by her two sons and a state-of-the-art blessing/invocation by Rebekah- no-one was forthcoming.

So I stepped up, tapped my fork on a glass - I LOVE tapping glasses and hearing 50 people instantly put on their listening ears - and offered my two-cents worth.

Here's what I said:

Today we are here to celebrate – not so much an 80th birthday as the wonderful person who happens to be entering into the blessed state of octogenarian-ism.

We love Myrt for many reasons

  • We loved her first because she made granddaddy Bob happy
  • We loved her because she then chose to love the balance of the Alexander family
  • We love her because she has loved us all so eloquently, so graciously, and so generously
  • We love her because she is such an outstanding Presbyterian!
  • We love her for her courageous efforts to keep a significant section of Central Florida grammatically correct
  • We love her because she forgives us our own grammatical ineptitude
  • We love her because she has such a hospitable spirit and such an open heart for people…

When Myrt first came into our family we wondered what it would be like to have a new stepmother and step-grandmother… It’s a path we really hadn’t considered before…

But it didn’t take long to realize that Myrt wasn’t a step-anything at all – she was – and is - a family member in her own right.

Which is why it hasn’t been at all difficult to maintain our family ties since Bob passed away in June of 2007. Myrt simply belongs at Maul Hall on Thanksgiving with the hoards and masses – and in Orlando July 4th and New Years Eve, to watch uncle Joe attempt to blow up the neighborhood, and the nieces and nephews.

And we belong here, to help celebrate 80 years (and counting) of faithfulness and commitment. Myrt is living her faith out loud. There’s a phrase I like to use that sums up how I feel about this gift of life. “We all should live like we mean it – because God most certainly does.” Well… it’s obvious that Myrt certainly does too, and she does it with elegance, she does it with √©lan, she does it with flair, she does it with style, and she does it with class.

There’s a scripture from Philippians chapter 2 that comes to mind when I think, “Myrt got us together for this party – so where should we go from here?”

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.


Jesse said...

It sure is great to get a well writen news report on a family event I wish I could have attended. Thanks Derek.

Darwin said...

Beautifully written, Derek. Each of us has at least one "Myrt" in our lives, and your words are a reminder to express to our "Myrt" that she is beautiful and dearly-loved.