Morris Follow Up  

Posted by Tony Guerrero

A couple posts ago I told you about my friend Morris CHapman. I just heard a new story about him that made me think about my own's the story that was sent to me first:
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Last weekend, there was a nice man who came to church and made a point to come up to me after the service. He had the church bulletin and a photo of Morris was on the cover.

He asked me, "Does Morris Chapman attend this church?" (he was a first timer).

I said, "Yes, he does lead worship here once every other month or so."

The man asked "Is he from Las Vegas? Did he used to be a custodian at a school in Las Vegas?"

I said, "Yes."

The man said, "Well, I was a student in the school where he worked and I can remember him sweeping up the hallways and always smiling and singing and giving encouragement to us kids. It made a lasting impression on me."
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So, my thoughts. Morris hasn't been a school janitor since 1978 or so, and he certainly wasn't a "famous" janitor that people would notice him. Truthfully, few people ever do notice their school janitor. But Morris' actions towards those he came in contact with back then have resonated to this day, thirty years later. Imagine some simple, banal interaction you had with someone today - at work, at the store, wherever. Now, imagine someone mentioning that moment to you thirty years later.

Sometimes, we never know the impact we can have on someone's life, even in the most unexciting moments. I've always thought that we really spend much of our lives scripting our own funeral - what will people say about me when I'm gone? He was generous, he was funny, he was kind - or - he was a jerk, he was greedy, he was rude. Our eulogies are written everyday, in even our smallest actions.

I'll close with one of my favorite quotes. Here, Martin Luther King, Jr. is really referring to how we do our job, but coupled with Morris' example, it is a good reminder that we all have influence, no matter our station:

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at Tuesday, March 18, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Monica C. Holland  

Hi Tony:
Thank for such a refreshing post. Morris Chapman has always been one of my favorite worshipers. Today's gospel music industry is filled with superstars, divas and performers. It's hard to tell sometimes whether I should lift my hands in praise to God or wave them in the air like I just don't care :-) I was blessed today to be reminded that "...true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." John 4:23

3/22/2008 1:11 PM

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