Saturday, March 08, 2008

Todd Burleson (1965-2008)

My friend, mentor, teacher, and former headmaster has gone Home. My heart aches for my own loss but more so for the loss in Natalie, Austin, Dylan, Christian, Mary Claire, Jackson, and the rest of the Burleson family's lives. But at the same time--how ever feebly acknowledged at this stage in grief--my heart also rejoices in that Mr. B is celebrating that imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance kept in heaven for him, while in the presence of Life Himself.

The last time I saw Mr. Burleson face to face we were talking about what my calling as a teacher might look like in the future. Well, really he was talking about that. My little mind was busy scheming about the possibility of he and his family moving to Franklin so that he could become headmaster of FCS! He always did bring out the most random and conniving of my visionary traits.

Mr. B was a man of diverse passions, yet firmly grounded and marked by substance. He had a way of always bring a person's central focus back to the heart of Christ and the gospel without Sunday School moralisms or religious cliches. His sincerity and honesty were a large part of what made him so endearing. That...and his smile. I have seen no bigger, more warming smile in my life, and the laughter that would often accompany was always infectious. Despite of his enormous depth--or perhaps in light of--Mr. B was especially down to earth. He was the kind of man that would let you be an honorary member of the boys basketball team because there weren't enough girls to have your own team. He was the kind of man that would help you out when you were trying to make his last name into an acrostic just so you could forever remember that the "e" goes after the "l" and not before. He was the kind of man that was content being the second choice of a group of students who really wanted the unavailable Dr. Grant to participate in their 40 hour project, and he still didn't complain when we then subjected his Vaselined face to a paper mache masking endeavor!

It is because of all these things that I know about Mr. B that my prayer for his family is that their unutterable grief, in the loss of so great a trophy of God's grace, will soon be turned into a joy inexpressible and full of glory.

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