Au Revoir, Charlie Holmes
It was at a time in this recovery when things were the most traumatic and the days were exceedingly long and brutal. Charlie was always there, doing what needed to be done, always available, regardless of the personal cost. It didn't matter that I warned him to stop doing things that only 25-year-olds should attempt; if it needed doing, I could always count on Charlie.
So, when the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship needed someone to fill Greg Wolfe's shoes last year (see Focus On....Apr. 16, 2006), I was thrilled when they tapped Charlie for the job.
Charlie is a modest man and didn't sign up for this to be glorified. While we are awaiting his permission to share exactly what DID get accomplished during his term, allow me to toot his horn on a more personal level:
Once in a while, over the course of a lifetime, we meet a kindred spirit, someone who has walked in our shoes and knows the road. Charlie and I have much in common, both personally and professionally. More than this, Charlie loves deeply and is hurt deeply, as well. There have been moments cruel to him over the many months since Katrina, but his determination to address the unfairnesses, the wrongs of the world that leave their mark indelibly on the souls of others, never once wavered.
In fact, Charlie was to finish his term at the end of the year and chose instead to stay on until March 30. Frankly, I didn't announce it, hoping he would extend again. But this would have been more than is right to ask of a man who has devoted his life to Pearlington since August 29, 2005.
Charlie and I loved to share passages from our favorite poets and authors. It seems fitting that I end this tribute with the words of Carl Jung, someone we both have studied (and taught!):
"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."
Here's to you Charlie and to all those who flocked to your side to do such amazing work in Pearlington! You are my friend and that friendship has transformed me. I will be looking you up when next in Mississippi. Your courage, grace, determination and heart inspire me and many others.