The Courage to be Forgotten

Those of you who said my last such post (on Facebook) was helpful and wanted me to keep it up via a blog… well, you talked me into it.  Here is a new set of reflections:

(It will help follow this if you remember that Uriah was Bathsheba’s husband. Uriah refused to break military code and sleep with his wife while on active duty—which David had…encouraged…him to do to cover up David’s adultery. David then ordered Joab to kill Uriah by abandoning him in battle.)

I had to take Delyn to a 6:30 a.m. forensics trip bus in Morristown. Driving back I had these thoughts:

Last night I saw a PBS documentary on Steve Jobs. One of Jobs’ colleagues said, “Steve Jobs related to people in one of three ways. He was either seducing you, using you, or scourging you.”

Steve Jobs sounds a lot like another seducer, user, scourger: King David. One gave us I-Pods and one the 23rd Psalm. I love both of these, but… I’m wondering why abusive leaders get all the cool-sounding names and press.

I mean, poor Uriah. There’s a name that (sounding like a cross between urine and pariah) doesn’t translate well into English. But Uriah had more integrity in his pinky nail than David and Joab in all their glory. (And do we really want to be people like David and Joab who end up plotting against each other?)

Names. David means “beloved.” Joab means “God is father/[creator].” Uriah means “God is light.” Hmm. Uriah, I pick you. Yeah, I’m writing this on an Apple Mac, and I love to quote the 23rd Psalm. Hopefully that means God can take the jerkness in me and make good out of it. But, Uriah, I may QUOTE David, but I want to BE like you: true to my commitments regardless of the costs. You are largely forgotten, but YOU are the model to follow. Yes, you died young, but you died with integrity. Quality of life is so much better than quantity. Though both quality AND quantity of life are nice when possible… “better is one day in the [ways of the Lord] than a thousand elsewhere.”

Eureka. I suppose we all want to have a legacy, and we will go to great lengths to preserve at least the illusion of our idealized images of ourselves. But maybe Uriah left a better legacy—if not a more highly recorded legacy than King David, Joab, and Steve Jobs who created much heartache trying to protect their legacies. Yes, I will still love my Apple gadgets and quoting the 23rd Psalm. But given the choice between the legacy of David or the legacy of Uriah?

“God is light.” Without God’s light we cannot see love (David) or creation (Joab).

Uriah, on this playground, I pick you. Our team may lose, but we’ll have more fun at the 20-year reunion…while David is dealing with Absalom. “My father is peace.” Oh the irony of cover-ups to protect one’s legacy. Yeah, Uriah, you died young. But there are so many fates worse than death. And there are so many virtues more truly lasting than name-recognition. I didn’t feel compelled to explain the names of King David or Steve Jobs. But I felt compelled to remind people who you were, Uriah. Thank you for having one of the greatest courages of all: the courage to live and die in obscurity.

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