Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In memoriam

I heard this morning that Ted passed away last night around midnight.

I don't know what to say.

I'm shocked but not surprised. The shock still comes from the suddenness of the onset of his cancer - about six weeks since diagnosis, I think. And if it affects me (and others connected with ICC) how much more so will it affect his family? The 'not surprised' part comes because I was hearing/reading updates over the last few days that simply made me think - this can't go on, this has to end one way or another quite soon - whether by miraculous healing, or by death.

Yet as Ted said himself in the messages (see previous post) - why, what's so bad about what happens next? (He, like me, is a Christian and in particular a believer in a heaven where there will be no more tears or pain) It's a 'no-brainer'! The hard part, as he acknowledged, is for those left behind.

Ted's family, a couple of months ago, had they even thought about this, would have had reasonable expectation of having him around for another 20-30 years. Now what? His children are adults, yet I know that had I lost my dad when I was 20 rather than 28, I would have missed out on a whole lot. A developing relationship between two adults, not between a child and an adult. Even now, I miss my dad, regret not being able to talk about my training and progress (though he wasn't a churchgoer), regret him not knowing his grandsons - our son and our nephew, though he did know our niece. I regret him not having a reasonably active and healthy retirement, or the fact that he had to retire just as he felt 'on top of his game', workwise.

And yet... we could have lost him when I was 8. Or 9. Or various times in my teenage years. At least we had 'bonus time'. Anyway, this wasn't supposed to be about my dad.

I urge you again, please pray (if you do) for Ted's wife and children, and the wider family.

And remember ICC, too. A whole new intake of first years may only have met Ted on an open day, or just heard the second of the two messages below, yet many more continuing students, graduates, and of course the college staff past and present will also miss Ted, as a person, and also for the key role he played in the operation of the college. Of course there are others who play key roles too, of course the institution is bigger than any one person, but nonetheless this will leave a big hole that will never be filled in quite the same way. Adjustments will need to be made, and will not necessarily be easy.

Ted was someone I first knew through my wife getting the job as afternoon receptionist, right at the beginning of ICC (formed from the merger of two previous colleges). Then I came to chat to him when I was considering coming to the college. Then, of course, I took O101, the famous 1st year Old Testament course, with 'Ted's Tests' (interestingly he told me they weren't his idea - he inherited them from a previous lecturer!). Obsessed with what a guest lecturer once called 'the fruitless pursuit of perfection', I did manage to achieve high scores, even with the 'word on the street' that Ted was very particular about the answers. Yay for my good memory. But boy did it make us read the set texts, since we knew we would have a test every other week for a whole term!

He was simply always there, doing probably far more than I knew about for the college - certainly in the process of seeking accreditation to train Church of Scotland ministers, in gaining validation by the University of Aberdeen, and in so many other things. Once he even took a Greek class for us, self-deprecatingly suggesting that he was the fourth or fifth down the list to stand-in (I can't remember now why the NT staff were all unavailable).

He was interested in everything, sat with students at lunches, played TT like nobody's business... what a guy. Maybe I should have said all this last week, and passed it on via his daughter. But anyway, it needed said, so here it is. Probably not the last or the most complete word, but an honest word from a former student.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dr Ted Herbert

An inspirational man from an inspirational college, ICC - ok so I'm biased, I studied there and I still work there. But check out these testimonies from him - in advanced stages of cancer.

First, in person to a prayer meeting at his church.

The second covers similar ground to the first, but directed to students of the college. It was done as a recording, less than a week later.

If you pray, please pray for him and his family and the wide circle of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and students who are affected by this. Healing, relief from nausea, I don't know what else to pray but please do.

If you don't (or if you do) - I hope it inspires and moves you as much as it does me.