Just over a week ago, I was in Ruston, LA doing a benefit concert at Louisiana Tech for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. I wrote a piece about it but left out an important part of one special thing that happened that night.
There was a very distinguished couple sitting in reserved seats on the front row. And it was a special occasion for them. They were celebrating their anniversary. I don’t remember the exact number but it was somewhere a few clicks north of 60 years!
Mr. and Mrs. Adams lived two houses down from us on School Street in our hometown of Wisner, LA. Guess what was across the street? I couldn’t make up horror stories about walking to school if I tried.
I went to school with a couple of the Adams Family. And I played in a band with Dennis and Gary Adams, my brother, Mike and another guy named Connie Moran. I was younger than all of them, so I was pretty jazzed when they invited me to join. I had a bent for lead guitar back then and I guess that’s what they were lacking. I remember overhearing my brother and the other guys talking, “Now we can have lead on Louie Louie!”
You remember Louie? If you didn’t hear it in the 60s, you probably heard it being belted out by a high school marching band under the Friday night lights somewhere in America. Nobody really remembers the words to Louie Louie but the melody was hard to forget. If it’s playing in your head right now, uh, sorry.
The Adams Family was one of two Catholic families in our little neck of the woods. Their church was in Winnsboro, a little larger town than ours fourteen miles to the north. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know much about the faith of this family and I probably didn’t give it much thought. I just knew that it was different. And I knew this – the dances our band played for at the Catholic Church would have never happened (that’s to say, they never did happen) at the First Baptist Church. Odd – I couldn’t go to dances but I could go play for other people to dance. Confusing.
Well, like I was saying, Mr. and Mrs. Adams were at the concert celebrating their anniversary. When I got word, via Facebook, that they wanted to come, I was surprised. I had no idea they would be interested. I can’t remember the last time I saw them or anyone from their family.
I found out the kids (all now grown with families of their own) had set it all up. They had gotten the tickets and the special seating secured, they arranged for the hotel and the restaurant. It was their way of making sure their parent’s anniversary was memorable.
It struck me as a huge display of genuine thoughtfulness. Talk about honoring your parents. It’s one of the best gifts you can give your folks.
Thoughtfulness is becoming a lost art. We find ourselves in an era of self-absorbed thoughtlessness. Not so much a mean spirited, aggressive neglect. Rather more a, “Huh? wow . . . the thought never crossed my mind” kind of culture.
All the techno luxuries were supposed to free us up. To do what?? To have more time to ourselves for ourselves?
I don’t want this to turn into one of those stories that throws rocks at modern advancements, but let’s face it. Most of them aren’t driving us toward each other. They’re driving us toward a more isolated existence that’s empty of real intimacy, real giving, sharing and real sacrifice.
I know some of you don’t agree with that and you put these tools to good use. I’ve gotten lots of email praising social media that’s helped you re-connect with old friends or schoolmates. That’s great! Just try to resist letting it replace real face time with those in your house, your family or your community.
I talked with Mr. and Mrs. Adams after the concert. They felt so blessed that their kids would plan such a thing. Mr. Adams is a quiet, dignified gentleman. That night in particular, he reminded me of my dad - dignity and humility. He told me how much he enjoyed the music. “Thank you for “Amazing Grace” he said.
I say that every day.