I Will Remember Him That Way–Elegy for My Mentor

I thought of my spiritual mentor who passed away some nine years ago now.  Without him and his love and patience, I would not have come out of the depraved selfish existence I led in my old life.  I wrote this elegy upon hearing of his death.  I want to share it with you.

I Will Remember Him That Way

I will remember him, but not for his last days on earth.

I will recall three decades ago, when the world was mad

and senseless and cruel,

When a young man and woman so in need of love

and patience

And so full of fear and loss and alienation, with cynicism

in full rotten bloom—

I’ll remember him that day, that warm April East Texas

spring day

When the joy emanating from his countenance hit me right

in the chest

As I strutted in with a smirk that said,

Okay, show me what you got,

Because I’ve just about given up the search for truth,

although I talk about it all the time,

And I know that my old self is my nemesis, my master, my

ruin,

And I can’t get rid of it by myself, because my self is my

very problem,

And I know that it has to die, and I’ve looked three years in

books from India,

And books from China, and books from Persia,

And none of the sages of the East could tell me how to put

my self to death,

And live to tell about it,

And I knew that I would waste my time

In looking to the christian buildings which cannot hold

moms and dads together in love—

So as a last futile foray for the truth before I give up

And sink into the numbness of nothingness,

I was thinking, Okay, show me what you got.

And he did, as I remember the joy and the love that swept

down on me,

As he spoke of a certain writer named Paul who spoke of

an old man Adam

Who was now put to death with the Lamb in a Roman 6

finality

And who could be raised to walk in a newness of life.

“You mean that my old self, my old ego, can die?”

I asked out loud that April morning in the cedar cabin in the

East Texas woods.

“That’s exactly what Paul is saying.”

And so I had finally found my sign that I had searched for.

I’ll remember him that way,

As the joyous messenger of my joy in God.

I’ll remember how he let me keep sleeping till noon the first

time we spent the night,

Under his breakfast table in the tarpaper shack,

For I was bidden to come and rest, and he let me rest.

I’ll recall the joy and deliverance from tobacco, drugs, alcohol,

and cursing.

I’ll remember him that way.

I’ll remember the countless times I robbed him of his rest,

And he would smile,

Knowing I was special in the hands of God.

I’ll remember him that way.

I’ll remember a man who believed in me like no one had done

before.

I’ll remember the days of Pepsi and popcorn,

And winter mornings, wood burning stove, kettle on top,

Cool mornings full of hot tea and scriptures,

When riches meant nothing and material possessions held no

power over us,

As we sat laughing into the gentle breezy piney woods evenings,

Secure at last that, yes, there is a God with a plan and purpose,

And all was as it should be here on earth at this moment.

I’ll remember him that way.

I’ll remember Tom as the mentor of my youth,

Who awakened me to greater things than my old self,

Who showed me how to speak to tens of thousands

about the Kingdom.

I’ll remember him as the one who helped me

along the road to God,

Who patiently in those early days,

taught me all the Truth he knew.

And so I ask, What more can any one man do?

I’ll remember him that way.

I’ll not let those early days be blotted out of my memory

By judging him on his last days on earth—

No matter how much it hurt—

I’ll leave all judgements of him to God and to bitter little hearts

Who can’t remember him in the early days.

But I’ll remember him that way.

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Filed under apostles' doctrine, crucified with Christ, death of self, old self, repentance, truth

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