When Doug first started playing golf in our neighborhood, he took me to the parties and I didn't know anyone - those golf guys all looked the same to me. Gradually, I started to make some distinctions by associating one fact about each guy with his face - names came later. My first two facts were: (1) the bartender who made everyone feel liked and important and (2) the singing guy.
"The singing guy," you say, "that sounds bad".
But he was a marvel. The singing guy would talk the band or DJ at whatever party it was into giving him the microphone and maybe some backup music (not always) so that he could sing a love song to his wife. And he could sing! He sang ballads, like "The Way You Look Tonight" or "Unforgettable" and his wife just looked embarrassed and gave him a hug when he was done.
Later, when I came to know the singing guy by his name, I also noticed that when you asked him how he was, he always said "Better than I deserve!" with a big smile.
At the church service on Saturday, the preacher said that this was a great reminder of the Lenten season. I thought he was just strange until I had some time to meditate on the idea. Lent is a good time to remind ourselves that we are all really better than we deserve. That is the point of giving things up and foregoing meat and all of that. I know that my spouse is better for and to me than I deserve most of the time. And the kids are better than I could even hope for. How about remembering to be grateful for that and reveling in it, instead of bothering to think about how they could be doing it "better" or "my way".
We lost the singing guy last week. The preacher was speaking at his funeral. Our friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about six months ago. For those of you that don't know, there is not a good prognosis for that kind of cancer and though he fought the good fight, it was too strong. He was grateful and friendly to the end - sending out updates full of sunshine and any good news he could think of. It was almost as if he were keeping our spirits up, instead of the other way around.
As the preacher said, we are better for having known him, much better than we deserve. We will miss you, Cary.