He has the darkest skin of any person I have ever met.
And his white hair makes his skin seem even darker.
His eyes are blue.
And he speaks with an British accent as a gentleman of history would speak to another.
Educated both in his county of British Guyana and here in the United States he is well read, well spoken and well mannered.
He is 85 years old.
His name is Eddie Ackloo.
He is my friend.
I don’t remember actually meeting Eddie for the first time.
Eddie lived across the street from my mom and I remember seeing him sitting in front of his single story apartment, quietly, seeming to take in all that was around him.
We would speak of literature and he would quote Shakespeare and others.
When he said, “John, you are my friend”, I knew he meant it.
When he said, “Give my respect to your mother and family”, I knew it was sincere.
So, on that day, as I was visiting my mother, I saw Eddie on his front porch.
I approached, and he did as he always has, he would stand as one gentleman approaches another and I would be met with a warm handshake.
As I was getting ready to leave, I said, “Eddie, give me a quotation to take with me.”
He looked up as if to retrieve inspiration from heaven and said, “John, have you read any of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the original Tarzan books?”
When I told him I had not, he summarized the scene and would quote from memory.
The explorers had brought Tarzan back to the United States and dressed him in a tuxedo and had attempted to change him from who he was, to who they wanted him to be.
Tarzan was finding it impossible to adapt to this foreign way of life.
Then Eddie gave me a beautiful quote from the book, The Beasts of Tarzan.
“We are, all of us, creatures of habit, and when the seeming necessity for schooling ourselves in new ways ceases to exist, we fall naturally and easily into the manner and customs which long usage has implanted ineradicably within us.”
As I left Eddie I thought about who God made me to be and how at times I am frustrated with who I really am.
We spend our whole life trying to change who we are intended to be.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Like Tarzan, you and I should become uncomfortable when others try to change us into who we are not intended to be.
Know who you are and whose you are.
Nothing else really matters.