I preached a sermon on God’s presence last week and talked about brushes with greatness I have had. I forgot about one that I experienced several years ago and shared in my church column then. As during the sermon, I invite everyone to share some of your brushes with greatness as we did during the sermon.
I had one of those fun moments this past week, a brush with greatness AKA coming near a celebrity. After suffering through an amazingly disappointing, but not surprising, SMU football fiasco on Monday, my parents and I decided we needed a consolation dinner. We went to one of their old haunts, Dunston’s Steak House in University Park. Dunston’s isn’t exactly what you call a fancy chop house, but the prices are reasonable and it has that old style, Texas steak house feel; sort of dark, with maroon booths and paneled walls. As we began to eat another party was seated across from our table. As I savored the soothing combination of Heinz 57 and a medium rare rib eye, my eyes focused on the next table and right before me was…. Don Henley. Don Henley of The Eagles fame. Don Henley of “The Boys of Summer” fame. Immediately my mind went in to “brush with greatness denial.” “That couldn’t be him.” “That sure looks like him.” “No, that couldn’t be him, it must be my lyin eyes.” “Well, it really looks like him.” This back and forth went on and on, until he and his family got up and went to the salad bar, giving me a closer, though nonchalant, examination. Sure enough, it still looked like the famous “Eagle” and noted naturalist. Upon deciding that it was him, I could feel that brushing of the greatness. I imagined how many tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of people, have paid “buku” bucks to see him perform, and there I was, basically having dinner with this member of music royalty. I know he wasn’t exactly in concert there in the steakhouse, but I traded that off for being within 15 feet of him.
My next task was to try to explain who Don Henley was to my parents. My mom of course had heard of him, she has heard of everyone, and had some idea of who the Eagles were when I told her some of their songs. Dad of course was clueless. In trying to explain what company Mr. Henley kept in the hierarchy of rock legends, I tried to guess which bands were more or at least as popular. I put the Eagles in the top 10 bands of all time. (I know some may argue but, this is my brush with greatness and I deem it a great brush.) Imagine that, one of the most famous and popular musicians in the world was there, with me, sharing steak at Dunston’s……yes Dunston’s, not Bob’s, not 111 Forks, not the Mansion, not even Kirby’s, but Dunston’s, not exactly what you would call life in the fast lane. So there it was, just when I thought I was in for heartache that night, thanks SMU, I had a more peaceful, easy feeling about the drive home and the probability of yet another long losing SMU season, thanks Don.
Upon reflection, it seemed silly to put such emphasis on brushes with greatness. I didn’t, talk to Don, he doesn’t know my name. All that he possibly knows is that I recognized him but didn’t want to pester him by interrupting his dinner. Of course the irony is that we can have the greatest brush with greatness any time we want. God is continually brushing against us. Christ wants nothing more than to brush us, to be with us, to spend time with us. In fact it’s usually a reverse brush. God is there, like paparazzi waiting for us to come into view, give a glance his way, stop and spend time. Unlike celebrities, God knows our name and we can never, never interrupt God.
Isn’t it ironic that the God of all the universe, Jesus, the one whom we adore, wants to be with us more than we want to be with him. God has carved out time for us, us, with all our warts and dirty laundry, if we could only quit our desperado desires, and turn to him, be with him, and truly get the best of his love and grace. Last observation. As I encountered Mr. Henley in something less than a 5 star eatery, so Christ is found brushing up against his children in the most unlikely places and greasy spoons.
Really last observation: The only thing that I tried to think to do to “take advantage” of this brush was to angle a way to get an autograph for fellow drummer and Altar Ego member, Michael Askew. But, alas, I chickened out as I thought that might be taking it to the limit of what you can do in Dunston’s.
Sermon “Thanks-Living: Eternal Presence.” Psalm 139 http://r.b5z.net/i/u/10092240/i/audio-icon.png