I was walking down our intermediate hallway this afternoon after the end of school bell. There were several sixth graders in the hallway at their lockers which, if you have never seen girls' lockers at that age, are often decorated nicer than my apartment. I made small talk as I passed and I made my way past the last young lady, she extended her hand and I returned the favor. As I continued, I heard her make this pronouncement to her buddies:
"I should get a PhD in high fives!"
I laughed. That was the best thing I heard all day or maybe in several days. Still laughing when I entered the high school office, I borrowed paper and pen from our Upper School Administrative Assistant, Christy McDonald. Making sure I kept the memory fresh, I copied it down word for word. Wisdom from the mouths of children!!
As I sat down several minutes ago, I was going to make an application on doing the little things well, perfecting small gestures and acts of kindness. But then it hit me. We had a PhD in high fives. Our long-time school chaplain, Dr. Robert Farrar, was famous for giving every man, woman, and child who entered the hallowed halls of Westbury Christian School, a high five. Doc, who just celebrated his 89th birthday, was in all of our lives until last year when health issues forced his retirement. In the good times and bad times of the families of our school, Doc was a presence. He had the gift of consolation and he had the gift of encouragement. I often sought his counsel and wisdom. He always kept a bag of pretzels in his drawer for me when I got hungry. When I was too busy to visit his downstairs' office, I sent my teachers' aides in my place and it became a tradition. Megan, Minna, and Mi saw Doc as a grandfather figure and they loved him dearly. And tonight, I realized how much I miss him.
The Lord puts people in our lives, I am convinced, for a reason. My first day and Doc's first day at WCS were the same. My father had a book profiling Church of Christ preachers and a very young Robert Farrar, complete with black hair, was pictured. I never knew that Doc but the older version, like most of us, was probably a better one. We had a going away reception for him last spring. He was in a wheel chair and all the kids hugged him goodbye. I kept thinking one day he would come back but that was wishful thinking. He's been in and out of the hospital in the past year. He's a fighter- you don't make it to eighty-nine if you aren't. We just aren't the same without him; some folks simply cannot be replaced. But, you know, I think I heard a little girl auditioning for his position this afternoon. Be well, Doc. Have no doubt that you are loved and missed.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Give people a high five for just getting out of bed because being human is hard sometimes."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org