Ashes to ashes,
Dust to Dust,
We all fall down
They imploded Texas Stadium this morning. People started arriving to witness the event as early as 9:00 p.m. last night, and the red and gold parking lots opened at 2:00 a.m. today. There was a traffic jam on the freeway at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning! The person with his finger on the button was an eleven-year old boy named Casey Rogers, winner of a nationwide essay contest for the honor and founder of a foundation for the homeless when he was eight years old. Quite a kid, just like those amazing men who made Texas Stadium what it was.
I cut my jog short by five minutes so I could rush home and see it happen, only to have to endure five minutes of Olympic style music (what is more pompous and self-inflated than the self-appointed millennial kingdom called the Olympics - I love the competition, but hate the hype). Then, at long last, came the twenty-second countdown to the blast. Immediately we could see the flashes and hear the sounds of the explosions as the charges went off at regular intervals all around the stadium. And, what seemed like minutes later, we heard the loud booms at our home! Amazing - we live twenty miles from what was Texas Stadium, but we heard the explosion just the same.
As we watched, a large cloud of dust rose up and totally covered the blast site. I thought of the words "...we are but dust..." and our days are like grass that is no more once the wind has passed over it. Yes, it all turns to dust. All the greatness of the Cowboys, the Staubach comebacks, powerful runs by Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith, the amazing catches made by Bullet Bob Hayes and Preston Pearson, the influence of Howard Hendricks, the team chaplain for years, the awesome line play by Bob Lilly, Bob Breunig's powerful stops at linebacker, Chuck Howley's game turning interceptions, the Man in the Fedora calling right play-after-right-play, and those fateful words, "No, Danny, No!" The Cowboys were never the same after that under Tom Landry. Of course, there were also those private-public tête-à-têtes between Coach Landry and Tex Schramm, the gruff general manager of the Cowboys when they wandered into each other's territory. All those great memories gone in a cloud of dust. What a painful picture of life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, We all fall down. All that great glory crashing down in a cloud of dust.
But then I had another thought, the thought that there is eternal dust mixed in with the collapse of Texas Stadium. Yes, the old Cowboys and Coach Landry are gone, but he lives on in eternity. There is eternity mixed into that dust.
And then I remembered another event associated with the implosion of Texas Stadium reported in the Dallas Morning News yesterday. I was attracted to it by what I thought was a picture of Tom Landry, and it was, but it was of Tom Landry, Jr., Tom's son, who serves his father and his family as the business manager of all the senior Landry's ongoing affairs. He's doing a great job of honoring his father's memory and caring for his mother.
They had an event at the Marriott in Las Colinas yesterday. All kinds of Cowboy notables attended, but no one was more special than Alicia Landry, Coach Landry's life partner and widow, the woman who helped make the Coach the man he was. Mrs. Landry was quoted as saying, "I would be happy to have my husband coaching our Cowboys, and playing at the stadium." So would I, Mrs. Landry, so would I. That would be one great Groundhog Day, wouldn't it?
But it's not to be. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, We all fall down.
Yes, it's true. We all fall down.
But let's do this. Let's make sure when it's our time to go ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and fall down, that we mix in some eternal dust so it can be said of us,
Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,
We all rise up!
Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for more than twenty three years (1981-2004). During this time he also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years. Bill is the author of two books: Beyond the Bottom Line—Where Faith and Business Meet, Moody Press and Effective Pastoring, Word Publishing. Bill served twelve years as founding pastor of South Hills Community Church, San Jose, CA (1969 to 1981). He has also been the Interim Pastor of Northwest Bible Church, Dallas, TX, on two different occasions.
Publication date: April 20, 2010