Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grafton, Wisconsin

My wife and I had just exited the expressway and had turned into Grafton, Wisconsin.

“Wow,” my wife exclaimed “this is a nice city!”

Yes, exclaimed is the proper descriptive and punctuation.

I always feel good driving into Grafton. I had a remodeling acquaintance on a project there last year. The man I was helping had a bright smile on his face as he told me he had a job in Grafton I would be helping him with.

I had been to Grafton often in the past and a few other times in more contemporary times. I found visits to this formerly small village, now a sparkling island of business and commerce, a bright spot in my day. Grafton always looks clean and orderly. It looks prosperous. You just feel …bright and good to be there.

On this one particular afternoon we were heading to a funeral. The man was a near life long friend of my father and our family. He served in the Navy and worked as an accountant, a businessman most his life. He was an outdoorsman, a hunter, and a good family man.

He and his family supported a Vietnamese family, what we of middle age years know as boat people, after the fall of the South. His family hosted many foreign exchange students. He participated in a hunting youth camp. He was a good man. A family man who was never without the support of his wife. When they talked about one they talked about the other.

He was the kind of man that fit the qualifications for leadership in the Church as described in the Bible. The Priest at the local Catholic Church testified how at the annual Church budget meetings he would always raise his hand and grill the Church on any item or allocation that he didn’t understand. He was a man who demanded everything be on the up and up. A man with the character, personality and moral fortitude that few if any could or would want to contest in his demands for excellence.

And if such a man would be qualified as a leader of the church why do we far to often not demand such standards from our political leaders? In fact this man was a member of nearly every committee on the Grafton Village board in his 37 years of service. He was absolutely committed to his community.

When we talk about the United States as that shining city on a hill, we need to understand how that came to be. We must understand that a shining city is built by such men as my father’s close friend. A man who understood that how something is done, whether anyone is looking or not, is far more important than what is done. That good works are built upon and inherent with the goodness and integrity, the moral fortitude of those committed to the goal; a goal envisioned through one’s faith. These are the kind of men who build our shining cities.