One of my favorite people in the world is a 90-something-year-old woman in Houston, Texas named Blake. She is on my mind today because tomorrow is the funeral service for her beloved husband. I can’t imagine how painful her loss is, but I know two things. First, she is surrounded by hundreds of people who simply adore them both, and, second, Blake is one tough cookie.
She and her husband fought and lobbied and marched for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights in Texas where it still isn’t the chic and popular thing to do. They were members of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and they once were honorary grand marshals of the LGBT pride parade.
A stalwart Episcopalian, Blake somehow discovered that I was planting a new church in Houston, and there she was every Sunday evening. Her devotion and faithfulness made me look forward each week to making the trip from wherever I was in the world to be with her and the congregation in Houston. Whenever I was tempted to complain that I was “too old” or “too busy” or “too tired” to plant a new church in a distant place, I’d think of Blake and, red-faced, apologize to God. I often told her that she was my hero and my idol. Helping to plant a new inclusive church in her 90s is just who Blake is, and I pray that her tribe will increase.
I don’t know what decade of your life you are in, but I ask you to think of Blake; or Philip Johnson who designed the Cathedral of Hope (pictured at right) while in his 90s; or Stanley Marcus (of Neiman Marcus) who, in his 90s, was still writing opinion pieces trying to get the city of Dallas to get on with renewing downtown. I am honored to have known these three great souls, and it gives me hope for what I might be able to do should I live into my 90s. The problem is, for me to contribute like them for that long, means I need to start now. How about you? What decade of your life are you in? Are you busy making a difference?
What are you waiting on?
President, Hope for Peace & Justice