A Band Of Angels

This morning, my uncle, Sid Newberry, will be laid to rest. Some of you are probably weary of my expounding on the situation, and if so, please accept my apologies. But, this has caused many thoughts to stir, and I am not one to keep them to myself. My hope is that when I share these thoughts and feelings with you, they might help you to better understand, and cope with, the struggles of this life we live.

Not for the first time, a curious concept occurred to me as I pondered the life and recent passing of my Uncle Sid. I was thinking about the impact he’d had on me and the reason his words and actions affected me as they so profoundly did. In the process, I concluded there was one main reason for his influence on me, and it was love. Sid Newberry was one of those people who, no matter what he was saying or doing, you just knew he was doing it out of love; more than that, honest love.

That fact, the fact Uncle Sid’s life was based in love, was not, however, the curious concept that occurred to me. The curious thing about it was that when I really thought about it, in all my sixty-plus years, I had not spent a lot of time with my uncle. The fact is—in most cases, it’s true with every one of us—we spend very little time with anyone except our spouses and children; and when we are young, our parents.

In the case of me and Uncle Sid, for instance, if I were able to count the moments, and add all the time we had sat and had a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation, the total time might not add up to an hour; certainly not even close to twenty-four of them. The reality is, throughout our lives, Uncle Sid and I did not spend a lot of time together.

The next step in my thought process is to count the hours when I was around Uncle Sid; in the same room, same house, same yard; available to his influence. They were more than the miniscule one-on-one scenario, but even so, those hours would not add up to a large amount of time.

So, what was it about Sid Newberry that so positively impacted me; how was it his love touched me, when we were not together much at all? Very simply, it was not what he said or did, and it wasn’t the amount of time I spent with, or around, him; it was the results his life produced.

Sid Newberry passed away this past Saturday, leaving behind, a wife who loved him with all her heart, and in his last days took care of him until she was literally exhausted; a woman who was at his side for over sixty years. My Aunt Ada is, like Uncle Sid was, a study in love. When I look into her eyes, what I see is God looking back at me; a God who loves me without question, and whose love never waivers. I know Aunt Ada loves me the same way.

Sid also left in his wake four wonderful children—adults now—who are all awesome, loving people; each of whom has raised children of their own who will carry Uncle Sid’s legacy far into the future of this uncertain world we live in.

No, in the overall scheme of things, I have not spent many hours of my life with the Newberry family. But, during the times I have spent with them there was never a doubt I was loved. What greater impact can a man and his family have on this world, than to pass through our lives and leave us feeling as though a band of angels has gathered around us as we struggle to find our way.

And therein lies the answer to my questions, for the help of angels is not in what they do, it is merely in the fact they are there.

Such is love.



  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    So beautifully poignant, Charlie!

  2. Susan said

    What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for blessing me with your memories of your dear uncle.

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