A Precious Role Model Has Slipped Away

It’s good to remember a role model

Any one of us, if we’ve experienced any success at all, can point to a role model (maybe many) who inspired us to do better, reach higher, appreciate life more. I can easily point to family members, teachers, religious leaders, and, yes, even some politicians. These precious individuals, often unwittingly, have touched my life to remind me that aspiration is a good thing, working hard brings rewards, and consideration of others is a worthy cause.

Elijah Cummings was a role model

102119 Role Model

Representative Elijah Cummings passed away this past week, leaving a considerable void in our political leadership in Washington. It’s a space that will remain vacant for a while as we sorely miss his sage guidance, inexhaustible energy, and loving touch.

As I’ve watched Elijah Cummings performing his legislative duties, I’ve often been struck by his ability to connect with and respect those who disagreed with him. Interpersonal divides did not succeed in separating him from the humanity he recognized in others. Many other tributes to his character come to mind as his legacy is remembered. He recognized we can do better, care more, and let a little love guide our many steps. He was an inspiration and a role model for all of us.

A poem reminds us of precious minutes

Representative Elijah Cummings recited a poem, as reported by Bill Murphy of “Inc.”, in his first speech to Congress. Representative Cummings told us then that he recited it to himself every day, sometimes many times a day, as a reminder of our precious time. It’s an inspiration to all of us.

God’s Minute (or) Just a Minute

I only have a minute.

Sixty seconds in it.

Forced upon me, I did not choose it,

But I know that I must use it.

Give account if I abuse it.

Suffer, if I lose it.

Only a tiny little minute,

But eternity is in it.

By Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Time is the only commodity we all share. We have minutes, many of them, granted generously to us to use was we will. As we spend our time, are the minutes we live used wisely, in the best way we can?

Minutes are a gift

If you cringe a bit at the question, you’re in good company. We all falter and waste time, not realizing – often not even aware – our lives are such a tremendous gift. We need to be reminded from time-to-time. We need a role model to show us the way, to give us strength, to generate hope as we press along.

Let me, just for a minute, point to a concern I have for this nation. I love this country with its wide expanses, its beautiful shores, and majestic mountains. I especially love this nation’s ideals outlined in our Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution. I am concerned that our greed and our anger and our vitriolic rhetoric will tear it asunder. We run the risk of trampling the good under our feet as we demand that our divided points of view succeed by crushing others out.

It’s an easy guess that every one of us knows someone who looks at us from across a political divide. If you’re a liberal, you face a conservative; if you’re a Republican, you face a Democrat; and so on. Do we forget how dear these people are to us? Do we set aside our common values that have served to make our lives full: their friendship, their concerns, even their gifts of time and tears that show they care? Do we throw it aside to prove we’re right (not them) and rest on a satisfaction that will burn itself out in mere minutes?

As Elijah Cummings reminded us so many times:

We’re better than this!

A challenge to better use a minute

Here’s a challenge I’d like to make. If you know someone who politically disagrees with you, call them or send them a Thank You card or a quick email to remind them that they matter to you. You don’t have to bring up politics. You don’t have to dwell on differences. Rather, take a moment, one with sixty seconds in it, and confess that you remember good times shared with them. Reflect on mutual moments of laughter or a warm embrace or a shared joy.

I believe that if we remind others that they matter to us, we add some goodness to a minute they experience. If we do this, political divides will cease their pull and erode into common causes. If we do this, we’ll find that every such shared minute will have eternity in it.

Elijah Cummings, a personal role model, has done as much for me through the minutes of service he’s shared. Thank you, Elijah, may you squeeze the hands of angels and not be soon forgotten.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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