Having experienced Jim and Kathy Vaughn’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration last Sunday, I am struck once again about how much perseverance it takes to carry out a commitment to a long term relationship. It came to mind as clearly as it did because that is our service theme for February: Perseverance. The willingness to make a long term commitment and stick to it, no matter what, in the Vaughn’s case. Amanda and I have been together for a little less than 30 years and I understand some of what that means. By these examples I don’t mean that couples should stay together no matter what when meanness and violence, disloyalty and dishonesty arise. Sometimes it takes great perseverance to end a relationship when it is appropriate. My first marriage ended that way, and it needed to.
Recently I re-read the autobiography of Huston Smith,”Tales of Wonder.” He is one of my heroes. Author of “The World’s Religions” that sold more than 3 million copies (one of the best selling religious books of all time) it was used in college classes for the study of religion and comparative religions for decades. It was, in truth, the world’s religions as studied by, and EXPERIENCED BY Smith. He spent much of his life becoming deeply immersed and practicing each of the religions he studied. His five part series of interviews with Bill Moyers about those experiences won an Emmy award.
For a number of reasons, I went to Berkeley, CA, to visit him at his home a few years ago. He was 91, almost 92 at the time. He died a year ago at age 97. I want to share some of that experience under the heading of this month’s theme because I know of no person who was more persistent about the study of the religious experience on Earth than Huston.
I hope all of you are well and are surviving the big warm UPS of the weather paired with crashing DOWNS, like last Sunday. The drive from Greeley to Golden was, at times, scary, as that good Northern Plains wind covered the road with snow drifts and made seeing ahead, well, challenging. But we made it safely. Then, Amanda, like many of you, came crashing down with the baddest Hong Kong flu. The day after our sewer backed up into the house. But that’s a story for another time. Persistence in the face of challenge. Right??
See you in church.