Saturday, 25 February 2012

Brief beauty, the Greatest Generation, and "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"

In 2010 I bought three Azaleas and planted them where I could enjoy them from the screened in porch at the back of my home.

‘Twas not necessarily a good purchase as azaleas do better in cooler climes. “Down here” in Florida we are lucky if the blossoms last for a week or ten days.

Nonetheless it is wonderful to enjoy their brief beauty, and they are looking good today.

It is “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” for these lovely plants, and for all of us.

Yesterday I was at a Memorial service for an eighty five years old man. I had gotten to know him in one of the Episcopal Church parishes in the Sarasota FL area.

This man was from Kansas.  He served in the U.S. Army from 1944 (when he was 18 years old!) until 1952. Then he studied law at Washburn University and was admitted to the Kansa Bar in 1955.

He and his wife (who yet survives) enjoyed two children and five grand-children.
He was a “peach of a guy” - part of the “Greatest Generation”.  He lived from an innate modesty – no boasting, no braggadocio.

He simply did what had to be done without fuss or nonsense.  He was a good lawyer, a fine husband, a willing soldier, a caring father, and a faithful Episcopalian.

He made no enemies.

He made many friends.

At the memorial service yesterday the man who gave the eulogy said “We will never forget him”.

It was a lovely sentiment, but it was false.

He will be forgotten.  Soon there will arise a generation who never knew him. When folks see his gravestone they will have no thought, concept or idea of the brief glory of his life.

“Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”.

It is only hubris which leads us to believe that our very insignificant lives will be long remembered.

To be forgotten is the fear of all of us who long to be remembered  many years after our deaths.

But given the millions (billions) years of evolution we are one with the Azaleas.  

We do no more than to offer a brief beauty in the larger scheme of things.

“Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”.

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