Chain of Love

I turned thirty yesterday. My uncle Steve would have turned fifty.

As a child I shared a birthday with Uncle Steve. Our parties always had two cakes. A little one for me and a big one for him. It was great. Steve was my mother's brother and only sibling. He taught school and was a really amazing guy. He would take me on outings with women I think he was trying to impress. I remember one time we went to Dunn's Falls with Sissy Jones and his little car broke down. We hitch-hiked to the horror of the more cautious adults in my life. It was a little boy's paradise - a hero uncle, a beautiful woman, and adventure.

Uncle Steve got leukemia (did I spell the d---- word correctly?) and died when I was in elementary school. My first experience of loss. God - couldn't it have been a fish or even a puppy. My next birthday and every one since has had only one cake. A lot of us still notice.

Uncle Steve wanted the chorus O How He Loves You and Me sung at his funeral. Maybe it was because of Kurt Kaiser's line, "O how He loves you and me; He gave His life, what more could He give?" He wanted everyone there to know his God of love. The love he reflected during his short but well-lived life.

I have a photograph on my fridge. It is a picture of me sitting in a hugh pile of construction paper rings. These rings were sold for a dime at Meridian High School twenty some years ago and the funds raised went to help Uncle Steve with medical expenses. It was called The Chain of Love. Students carried it from the High School to my grandmother's house because Uncle Steve was spending his last days there. The photo is a living sermon for me. As one of Truman Capote's characters said, "Love is a chain." I was loved before I entered this world by a great cloud of witnesses. Uncle Steve is now among them. Molly Katherine will hear their stories and know the strength of the chain of love. Our son to born will wear the name Steven. He will know the love of the chain as well.

God Bless.


jasonk said...

Beautiful tribute.

Perry McCall said...

Happy Birthday. My grandfather and I shared a birthday. I understand!

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