Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Tribute to Roger Robinson

This is the tribute, given by my son Roger, to my dad Roger at his funeral on November 29, 2012.

Hello everybody, thank you very much for coming. For those of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Roger. I was named after my grandfather. It’s a real honor to be here.  Thank you for coming ...I really appreciate all our family and friends. You have no idea how much it means to know that he was loved and that we are too.

 I wanted to talk about who he was, why I think he was so special, what his character was. When I thought about this, about the words that describe him, the word that I kept coming back to was love.  Now I know that can sound cheesy, but... He was a private man, he didn’t always say what he was thinking, what he was feeling.  I am kind of the same way.  But he showed his love through his work, through what he did for people, through his service.

He met Gloria, his wife when they were young. They were roller skating, she was with a friend. He came up and he asked her to skate... and he was faithful to her - they were married for 67 years. And he loved her the whole time. When he was in the hospital he would keep talking about her, saying what a wonderful woman she was, how lucky he was to have such a wonderful woman.  We were calling to make appointments at the hair salon, and the lady there said “Oh, he was such a sweet man, he and Gloria were so sweet to each other, and so connected.” The fact that someone who barely knew him would have that impression of them just speaks volumes about the kind of person he was.

I don’t cry because I am sad.  I cry out of love. I just loved him so much. It’s okay that he is gone. I am happy that he does not have to suffer any more.  I just loved him so much that I am overwhelmed by it.

He loved his family. He worked two jobs;  he was a trained instrument maker: he was skilled and intelligent. He also worked a second job as a janitor so he could support his family. When he was in the hospital, on his deathbed, he kept trying to get up, to do something ... to wash the dishes or something. My mother was there next to him, and she was stroking his cheek and saying to him, “ Its OK dad, everything is done. You don’t have to do anything. You can just rest.”

He loved his friends too. He didn’t have very many close friends, but he the ones he did have he really loved.  Like his friend Dennis... when he had brain surgery that left him partially disabled,  Roger helped him to learn to walk again.

Yes he loved his family, his friends, his wife. He also really loved pie. Mincement pie, chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, he loved it.  In the hospital on his tray of food there was some carrot cake – guess what he ate first? He loved dessert. I guess I inherited that.

He as a very joyful person. I live in Seattle, not very far away so I was able to come and visit and every time I would come, I would walk into the room and he would look up and his blue eyes would light up and he would say “Oh, hi, Rog!”

I was his grandson, so I didn’t know him when he was younger, but he was a young boy’s dream when he would come to visit us when we were living in England, or when we went to visit him in Colorado. He was so much fun. He loved adventure. That’s what we would do.  He used to run, ride his bike; he ran up Pikes Peak. He loved to golf and fish. He loved the outdoors; he loved to be in nature. 

We went along with him sometimes, but I think his serious adventures he had by himself. After he retired, Gloria was still working. She didn’t really know what he did all day, she imagined him sitting at home, tidying up or puttering around the house, but no, not him! He was out having adventures. He would pick up some of the ladies from the church and he would take them skiing, they’d ski all day, he’d come home and he’d rush around and tidy up and Nana would come home and ... she wouldn’t know.  For years she didn’t know.

We went to visit him and he had this old Scout and we would drive around the city, and for some reason (I’m sure that this was his idea) he decided that we were never going to stop, ever .  Driving around in this scout  ... red lights, stop signs, it didn’t matter, he wasn’t stopping!  If there were cars in the way, he’d figure it out, we weren’t stopping. That was just the kind of man he was. He was a kind man and a gentle man, but he was not a tame man. He was truly wild at heart.

He also loved being peaceful, being quiet. He loved to play golf. His golf swing was not fast, not powerful:  it was smooth, it was round.  After he retired he went back to school took college courses in geology and German just because he liked to learn about the world. He was interested in many things. His garden was the best garden on the greenway.  People would go by and admire it. Even as an old man, when he was weak, we’d find him outside, weeding.  He had a terrible back, he was in terrible pain and he’d be out there pulling weeds. We’d say,” Pop-pop you don’t have to do that!” and he would say “I know, I just saw that one and I thought I would get it.” He was not a man to sit in a chair and watch TV even thought he was suffering.

He was a great craftsman. He had a workshop that was immaculately ordered. He made things for his kids and his grandchildren  ... a dollhouse ... he made my brother and I wooden swords so we could hit each other... what kid wouldn’t like that? He loved fly fishing and he would make intricate flies... they were amazing,  it would take him hours. Everything he did he liked to do well.

He was also very patient.  When his daughters Kathy and Carolyn were young he would read them stories at bedtime and they would argue about whose bed he would sit on. They couldn’t stop arguing so he pushed the beds together and sat in the middle! But there were limits to his patience.  When he was trying to teach Lisa, his granddaughter , to play golf ... she’s is left handed and he said “No. Not possible.” Or when he was trying to teach his daughter Carolyn to drive a manual transmission ...  in his Porsche. That didn’t go well.

He quietly helped people. He worked with Silver Key delivering food to people who couldn’t leave their homes.  He and his daughter Liz visited one lady ... they cooked her meal, set the table ... it was Thanksgiving, and she didn’t have anyone to take care of her. He didn’t talk about these things  - he just did it.

From him I could learn to love, and to love life... to be fierce... to be joyful. Galatians 5 reminds us that the fruit of the spirit is love and joy, peace, patience, and kindness and goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control .....  And when you think back on his life if you knew him, every one of these words describes him.
So I tell you, the Spirit of God was with him while he was on earth. And it is my prayer for each and every one of you that the Spirit of God would also be with you each and every day. Thank you so much for your support.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Rachel Held Evans is hosting a "Week of Mutuality."  Here is my contribution to the syncroblog!

I always thought I was a complementarian. (According to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, complementarianism "affirms that men and women are equal in the image of God but maintain complementary differences in  role and function.") Then Lianne Roembke, author of Building Credible Multicultural Teams and a woman I greatly admired, asked me how our marriage actually worked.

As a young wife I trusted Terry’s judgment more than my own. He was so logical, so convinced that he was right,  could state his reasons for coming to any decision, and rarely changed his mind. I had gut feelings and changed my mind ... a lot. But he (smart guy that he is) listened to me and learned to trust my intuitions.  We never, that I can remember, made any significant decisions that we did not agree on. I do not remember him ever trumping my views because he was the “head”.  Our roles and functions could not be described as “lead”  and “submit.”  We always functioned as equal partners, under the authority of Jesus, seeking to respond to the Spirit of God and to represent His kingdom.

As the years went by, he helped me to become more confident in my own insights, my own thinking and my own wisdom. When he had surgery to remove a brain tumor in 1993, was hospitalized for 5 months, and subsequently faced with a long rehabilitation, we had new roles to play. I had to make the decisions. I handled the finances, dealt with his medical issues, sold the house, organized an international move, and supported the children as they were uprooted from their homes and established in another country. I did it well, with the grace of God and the help of many. 

In the subsequent years, Terry (who is by the way, is the best and most Jesus-like person I know)  encouraged me as I went back to school to get my Master’s degree and established a new role in ministry in Campus Crusade for Christ.  (“They need what you have,”  he said.) He enjoys hearing my insights, is influenced by what I am learning, and is glad I read all those books and give him synopses (so he doesn’t have to read them.)  He likes the (rare) opportunities that I have to speak at church – because my sermons are good. I could never have done what I do without his encouragement and support. He helps to create an environment in which I can thrive.  

There have been other men with who have done the same.  Dr. James Houston and Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh, professors at Regent College who treated my work with respect when I felt like the escaped housewife in a classroom full of bright young men;  Steve Ellisen and Matt Mikalatos who as my bosses in Campus Crusade for Christ gave me a platform;  and colleagues  like Bob, Darren, Jason, and Kirk who have always sought out my contributions and valued my gifts.

My very wise mentor, Ney Bailey, told me “you be responsible for the depth of your ministry, and let God be responsible for the breadth.”  I  don’t want to fight for a voice or a place at the table (or on the platform.)  But I love it when men like these act like Jesus and fight for me.  Thank-you, brothers.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"The Absence of God"

From The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason:
"Even as Job confesses His faith in the living God, he matter-of-factly accuses this God of deserting him, of leaving him in the lurch. It is as if God, though alive, might as well be dead. Nevertheless Job appeals to this silent, absent God as one whose living reality remains entirely beyond question, one whose existence is more certain than his own. (Job 27:2) ... Faith is the ability to tolerate the intolerable paradox of God's clear and undisputed title as Lord of the universe in spite of His apparent absence. Some might prefer to see faith as an awareness of God's presence, the discerning of His hand at work in our lives.But what of all the times we cannot see any hand at all? Sometimes the Lord touches us directly. But often He works through secondary agents - through other people, through created things, through life experiences both good and bad - and in such cases we may not be aware of His involvement until long afterwards, if at all. This is when pure faith is called for, faith reduced to simplest terms. "When you cannot practice the presence of God,"  wrote C.S. Lewis, "then it is something to practice the absence of God." 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy are those ...

The field of positive psychology has great  insights into the happiness and the brain. Here is a very entertaining Ted talk  which is a good example.
An observation, and a question:

  • Note the connection between the practices he mentions - gratitude, journaling, exercise, acts of kindness - and Christian spiritual disciplines. 
  • What do you think is the basis for this positive outlook? As one who believes that God is redeeming and restoring the world, I have hope, and thus a basis for a positive outlook. Apart from that, I don't quite get what the basis might be for this positive outlook, other than that it works ... that is, those who cultivate positivity are indeed happier and more productive, as demonstrated in a great deal of recent research.