I have spent much of my parenting years and if i squint, I think I can see some of the years prior to that, telling my children and other people that we spend too much time worshipping idols. There are no perfect people. Why do we worship them. There was only Jesus and Mary, and we spent just as much time crucifying them while they were on earth as we did worshipping them. Why then, do we idolize ordinary people who sing, or throw a ball, or have the genetic gift of perfectly placed facial features...really, does that make them special. Usually they aren't even very nice or funny or have anything special about them other than that gift that was presented to them by God solely for His Glory. But today, I am letting that go and talking about my only earthly hero, Joe Paterno.
Joe is my hero. I went to Penn State in the early 80's and it was a golden time. We had not one, but two national championships. Joe was the man...not just because he won those football games, but because he was our coach. Any university, an school for that matter, identifies with its football team. That is part of our hero worship mentality. The highly visible, usually revenue generating part will make us stand up and pay attention. But Joe was the face of our team...and by virtue, our school. We all had stand up Joe's in our apartments and dorms. We all wanted our picture taken by the Lion. Any news clippings I have saved from the 80's usually has something to do with Joe or the team. I let my long-held belief regarding hero worship go with Joe because, well, he was above all that. No, I never had a sit-down heart to heart with the man. But he was a heavily publicized figure for more years than I was even aware of the university. He did a few things and he did them well. He was a husband. A parent. A coach. A leader. Joe did those things well. He was there for his family, his university, his team, and his kids...He loved us and let us know by his dedication to his few absolutes. As a student, I was one of his. By his unwavering committment to us, he earned my unending love and admiration. Ridiculous unwavering loyalty to a coach...a public figure. Silly, yeah, maybe. But he walked with us down the mall. He waved as we attended classes. He was one of us and I was there. And he did a few things so well...so good, it made an impact. How many of us can say that.
Farewell, Joe...I am praying for you and your family. You were a good and faithful servant and I pray that you are hearing that right now from the only One who has the legitimate right to be worshipped...