Let’s Light Up Our Cigars! (by Keith D. Herron)
After his presidency had ended, Ulysses S. Grant once gave a friend a fine cigar. The gift was an extension of his friendship and esteem. Realizing the cigar was a valuable memento from a famous person, Grant’s friend saved the cigar rather than smoking it and kept it dutifully in his humidor under ideal conditions. It was thus handed down to his son who kept it who gave it to his son late in life.
Some seventy years later, the man’s grandson decided to smoke the illustrious cigar at a public ceremony honoring a historic occasion in the grandson’s life. He proudly lit up the cigar that had been given to his grandfather by President Grant and puffed away importantly … whereupon the cigar blew up in his face! Grant had given his good friend an exploding cigar as a joke, but it took seventy years for the joke to deliver the power of its punch line.
How many unexploded cigars lie around us? Maybe they’ve been in the form of ideas and dreams that have come to us in the night we’ve not had the courage to explore. Maybe they’ve been an inner impulse to do more or be more. Most of us have an urge to make more out of the little we’ve received. When I think of the future, it comes to me in the form of dreams about all that we could do or be.
For myself …
I want to live more open to the adventure of life by being more conscious and by living in the energy of the moment.
I want to embrace life as it offers itself to me and not shirk the moment by withdrawing. When an opportunity arises that demands something of me, I want to see past my hesitancy and to see what new thing might be enjoyed.
I want to savor the moment, drinking in all the flavors of life I can by tasting, touching, hugging and loving.
I want to throw open the windows of my soul and my mind as an act of gratitude to the God who made all things.
Gratitude for others, gratitude to God and gratitude for the gift of this moment … all of these I want to savor.
For my family …
I want my family to be my centeredness to the world and a constant reminder that I have people to whom I live in debt for love and friendship.
I want to see my children as my extension into the future and my parents as my link to the past.
I want to see my life honestly along the arc of a life’s span, whatever days may be left for me to live.
I want to live deeply by being connected to my family.
I want to break free from the ironic tendency to live as though my family is there to serve my needs of self.
I want to celebrate their joys and share their burdens out of the pure and simple sense of loving them, no matter what happens.
For my community of faith …
I want my church to be a community where people of all ages who find it to be a wholesome, healthy place where real needs are taken seriously and met.
I want my church to be accepting and engaging.
I want those who feel alienated from life to feel and experience a sense of God’s blessing.
I want my church to see itself as agents of change and where our members feel authorized to do and be what Christ would do and be.
I want us to be willing to meet one another in the spirit of Christ who loved and changed destinies.
I want the outsider to feel a sense of “coming home.” Loneliness is a powerful and degrading emotion that causes one to feel empty, lost and devalued.
I want us to be a place where dreams and visions are honored … expected even!
I want my community of belief to have a holy sense of the drama God has led us to engage in this world and in our community.
I want us to have big dreams and a commitment to something larger than we can do on our own.
What do we have to lose? Let’s light our cigars and take our chances!
Keith D. Herron has been the pastor of an thoughtful and adventurous church in Kansas City, Missouri for the past decade. Follow his blog at www.kdherron.com.