BY REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
Shall not the ancient ones teach you, and tell you, and utter words out of their heart? – Job 8:10
One thing I’ve learned about myself in this life is that I can act out in a bold and brash way. Sometimes it’s impulsive… sometimes it’s intentional. It’s a way to compensate for my own insecurity. It’s a way to make a point. In fact, I guess, most of us can do that from time to time. This behavior of mine manifested itself one night in my college library when I walked over to speak to a retired professor. He was already among the ‘ancient’ and remained so dying just a few weeks shy of 100 years of age.
It was late and the library was soon to close. I was on the third floor, heading toward the elevator, when I saw “Doc Wiede” sitting at a table with a book and taking copious notes. “Isn’t it a little late for you to be up, Doc?” I asked, “and haven’t you learned enough yet?” I added. What happened next remains unforgettable and seems like it occurred only yesterday each time I retell it.
It was the Rev. Dr. A. G. (Arthur George) Wiederaenders (now you understand the nickname “Doc Wiede”) who looked up slowly from his notes, pointed his pen in my face and said without any hesitation or reservation, “Sit down, boy, and let me tell you something.” We were strangers, but his notoriety was overwhelming. I had no choice! So, I did and then he did. It was a truly holy moment!
He then reached for a piece of notebook paper and on it he drew what looked to me like an upside down “V” and the point was pointed toward him! “You see this?” he said. “This is my life. It starts here,” as he placed his pen at the conjunction of the two lines. “I didn’t know anything then; I was just born.” And then he drew an arch about an inch from the point and said, “and this is when I was a kid. I was learning and I only knew what I knew.” I saw fire in his eyes as the instruction continued.
He then drew a few more arches connecting one side of the “V” to the other and looked me square in the eyes and said with a thundering voice so that anyone leaving the library at 11:00 PM could hear… “With each year you get older, you discover that there is always more to learn…you learn some and then some more as you grow even older your horizons broaden and there’s much more to learn so that when you get to be my age, you’ve learned so much that you realize you don’t know anything at all.” It was Bildad from Shuhah who said to Job… “Shall not the ancient ones teach you, and tell you, and utter words out of their heart?
I went back to my dorm realizing I had been in the presence of Godly wisdom. Faith matters!
The pandemic has forced us into a place for new instruction and new learning. We are all novices here sharing the same learning curve. I know you’ve noticed. I also hope this moment in time is honing all our perceptions and postures as there really is so much more to learn. Trust the great teacher, then. Ask questions. Stay the course… and I hope one day some 19-year-old sees fire in my eyes asking me that question when I’m close to 100 years old…
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Please send your comments and / or questions to [email protected].