Sunday, March 07, 2010

30 Days of Hearing -- Ghosts, Redux

I heard more ghosts last night. Except these were not voices from the past. They were voices from the present that evoked the past.

I attended the Central Ohio Young Life 40th anniversary banquet in Columbus. I was a Young Life staff person there from 1972 to 1976, mostly involved with the West and Hilliard clubs. I was in town visiting my parents, so they (who used to be on Young Life support committee), my sister Linda (a member of the West club), and I went.

One of the first people I ran into did seem like a ghost. It was a young man named Mike Chilcoat -- and he looked so much like Dave Chilcoat, his father who founded Young Life in Columbus in 1970 that I was truck speechless for a moment. His voice sounded like his dad's and he was a gracious, gentle, welcoming soul like his father (who passed away from ALS a few years ago). The short time spent talking to Mike brought back a flood of memories of a truly remarkable man -- a man who blessed my life immensely.

The next person I saw was also a Chilcoat. This time it was Beth -- Dave's wife. Who recognized me immediately even though we had not seen each other since 1976. After some reminiscing (her recall of my mistake of ordering "steak tartar" 35 years ago because I didn't know any better was a bit embarrassing), she reintroduced me to her son Jeff who I used to babysit on occasion (I remembered him sticking a Flintstones vitamin up his nose while I was watching him -- turnabout is fair play).

I also got to see Bev Brown who ran the West Club with me and who still looked beautiful and Jerry Kasberg who lead singing there and who is now a Presbyterian pastor. The Shover sisters and Glynda Rice who attended the West Club were also there.

All their voices were a delight to me. As were the words they spoke. I found them so affirming. I look back on those years and see my failings. They loom large ... things I wish I had said, things I wish I hadn't said. I see the times I failed to live up to the Gospel I proclaimed (and still do) and how I relied (and rely) on God's grace -- and hope that I communicated that message of Love and Grace well. And I also hope that I never held myself up as some sort of positive example -- that instead I pointed the way to a relationship with God.

The voices that spoke to me, last night, though, seemed to have either forgotten all my failings or forgiven me for them, or both. And for that I am grateful. I am grateful, too, for the kindness of those words... the memories of wonderful times aboard old Flxible buses on Young Life trips, silly skits, late nights at Camp Wilson, 20 minutes of silence as we thought about our relationships with God, and the love and support of people like Dave, Jerry, Beth, Bev, Jack Gilbert, Joe Guzzo, Jimmy Miller, Barb Turf, and so many more.

The blessings God has poured on my life are immeasurable. And the ghosts of Young Life past and present reminded me of that last night. I am grateful beyond words.

Now if I just had the hair I had back then!

-- Brent
PS The picture above is of a volleyball game in 1973 -- the West High Young Life club trip to Lake Hope, OH. I'm the yahoo who is up in the air after hitting the ball and Dave Chilcoat is on the far right in the back wearing a denim shirt.

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