One of the things that I inherited after my dad passed away was alot of books. He, like me, was a voracious reader, and had a very large and diverse book collection.
Many of his books were of a spiritual nature, and one of the books I inherited from him caught my eye, and has become the next book that I will read – one chapter every morning, prior to my prayer and meditation time. (I will save the Course of Miracles for another time, and the suggestions that were made to me as a result a prior post, for another time.)
So the book is:
The author is Robert A. Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral. Although I did not visit the Crystal Cathedral during My 52 Weeks of Worship Project, it is a place of worship that I am quite familiar with. I write about it in the Week 14 chapter of my book, when I visited the Sixth Grace Presybyterian Church in Chicago. Here is an excerpt:
“The pastor was dressed in a gown that looked much like one that I recognized from the many times I watched Robert Schuller preach at the Crystal Cathedral. I wondered if they were from the same denomination. Research revealed that the Crystal Cathedral was part of the Reform Church of America. Research also suggested that there was a connection between the two denominations, but after just 12 weeks of my journey, the different denominations were not crystal clear, no pun intended. In any case, it was a nice gown.
The Crystal Cathedral was another one of the diverse spiritual inputs that left an indelible mark on me and my spiritual development. Its special brand of “possibility thinking” was part of my life for many years. My father supported the ministry with many tithes and offerings, and were part of the church’s Eagles club which was constantly sending eagles figurines to the house to say thank you for my father’s consistent support.
I remember a house filled with these eagles.
These eagles all had inspiring “go-get-em” quotations on them, many related in some way to the scripture that could be found in Isaiah:
Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up on wings as eagles,
They shall RUN and NOT grow weary,
They shall WALK and NOT faint.”
There were big eagles and little eagles. Eagle coins and eagle statues. There were many books, all with inspiring titles like “Tough times never last, but tough people do!” and “Turning Your Stress into Strength!”
There was never ending possibility and positivity and we steeped in it. Until one day, my parents went to an event where they actually met Robert Schuller. As the story goes, my father, who was ever the proud African man, asked Dr. Schuller when he would take the ministry to Africa. The response, unfortunately, had something to do with Dr. Schuller stating that if my father would consider donating funds, this could be considered. After a lifetime of supporting Dr. Schuller and his ministries financially, my father did not find this to be a satisfactory response; in fact he found it offensive (as did I when I heard about it).
And thus, the ministry became less and less omnipresent in our lives, and although the power of positive thinking continued to be a family mantra, the trickle of eagle deliveries to the house slowed, and then stopped.”
In the inside of the book, in my father’s handwriting is his name and the date 8/89. He, like I, tends to write the date inside the cover of the book, after he finishes reading it. In 8/89, I was packing my bags, leaving Atlanta to head to Palo Alto, California for my first year of college. I remember being thrilled, excited to be headed to a place that I had dreamed of for years. Who knows why he felt he needed “Strength for (a) fragile spirit.” at that particular time. Perhaps he was missing me already, even though he knew I would soon be in a great place – the next phase of my life was beginning.
Just like today, I am missing him, although I know he is in a better place, and he is in the next phase of his life – the afterlife.
By Ekpedeme M. Bassey © 2010-2011 All Rights Reserved