GLEANINGS from the Daily Office – Ode to Mills

GLEANINGS (from the Daily Office) – Ode to Mills – Year One, Proper 24, Monday, October 19, 2015, 1 Corinthians 15:30-41

“If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’”

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for Mills Sproull, the son of my fraternity brother Miller. Mills was one of four students who died last weekend in a tragic car crash at the University of South Carolina Upstate. One fraternity brother said afterward that you had to have a hard heart if you weren’t moved to tears in that service. I replied it was easier for me to count the moments I was not crying. That could be done on one hand. It was terribly sad. I‘ve experienced some intense pain in my life but nothing that would give me insight into what his family is enduring. If past experience is an indicator of what the future holds, the pain for his parents and siblings has only begun. Without the hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5) they would be left to eat and drink and be not so merry. So very sad!

And yet the memorial service was very encouraging. One testimony after another, almost all from young men and women under 25, remembered a young man who lived with the welfare of others in mind. His younger brother spoke of the transition from homeschool to Oak Mountain. It was intimidating to him but Mills made it easy even a delight. Mills made sure his brother had friends as if he was a rock star. He gave him all the secrets, including appropriate attire, to making the change a success. Mills was his best friend.

His older sister spoke of coming into this world painfully shy. She said that Mills was the “game changer” for her. The “game changer.” He made her comfortable in her skin. Mills was her best friend too. His relationship with his siblings made me imagine Mills standing on a wall and saying “not on my watch.” He was their consummate defender. Would that all siblings cared fiercely and acted upon it so consistently!

One friend and/or teammate after another spoke of Mills’ capacity to bring relief to those who were in pain even at moments in which Mills’ own life was filled with it. He made people feel at home or comfortable in their skin. Apparently Mills was just quirky enough to help others embrace their own quirkiness. Real gave permission to real.

It is important to say that Mills was no saint other than in the sense that all of us sinners are saints, that is set apart in Christ Jesus. But at an early age Mills mastered esteeming the needs of others more than his own. He managed to love often in the way God loves him. I left the service thinking I would be blessed to have been raised by his parents. I left thinking it would have been an honor to know Mills. And because death does not have the last word, because resurrection is real, I will!

–Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”–

Categories Latest News, Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on October 19, 2015

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