Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1367, Nov. 10th, 2010




Mark Guydish wrote a very good column on one of the quiet men of the community, Brother Harold Rogan who passed away last month. Brother Harold was associated with King's College. Here is that column:
As one of the ugliest elections in decades finally ends, as the relentless barrage of mean-spirited ads subsides so we can breathe without the toxicity of a campaign constantly declaring the superb qualities of one candidate while demonizing the other, its seems worth calling attention to a man who, by all accounts, was the polar opposite of everything our politicians have become.
Until last Thursday I couldn’t have picked Brother Harold Rogan from a crowd of two. I think we met briefly at St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen a few months before his death Oct. 26, one of many places he served through bookkeeping skills universally described as bordering on perfect.
But I’m not sure we met. And from the sound of it, few who bumped into him would remember Brother Harold, simply because he would never tout his talent, boast of his brilliance or detail his vaunted value for all to hear.
The man worked at institutions run by the Congregation of the Holy Cross for half a century, from Indiana to Massachusetts to Connecticut and here. He helped found King’s College and served it diligently for 45 years. Yet, the people I talked to suggested Brother Harold would have been at best embarrassed and perhaps chagrined to see himself in the newspaper, much less on the front page, or in this column.
Which is precisely why I think he deserves notice. In a world shrunk to the size of your computer monitor, in an age when personal opinions – and opinions of personal worth – spread at the speed of electrons, Brother Harold’s quiet humility is a potent antidote to endless ego trips enabled by e-mail and blogs, YouTube and Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.
Connectivity brings risks
Our new connectivity brings countless blessings: Information at your fingertips, democratization of ideas and facts. It gives shoppers unrivaled access to goods and vendors unrivaled access to shoppers, it tightens bonds with family and friends. It also offers commensurate risk: 24/7 bullying or stalking, new and devastating methods of scamming and identity theft, viral lies shooting around the globe faster than they can be debunked, and tremendous ease at shutting out anything you don’t already believe and agree with, thus shutting down personal growth of ideas.
We live in a world where mediocrity is readily championed as excellence, where cleverly “branding” yourself can help you succeed in lieu of success at work, where “reality TV” turns anyone into a star – winning talent and talent-free loser alike. Many can and do tweet their every thought or move no matter how mundane, rate their every meal no matter the menu or venue.
Fame now lurks around the corner. Record yourself raving about someone, or fighting someone, or doing something inane. Tweet every utterance of your parents or mate or children, upload every photo of every sunset you see or every cute face your little ones make, write rants about your boss or your newspaper or your town. Post it online and wait for the book or movie or TV deal. Let the world know how important you are.
Your job? That’s what you do so you can do all the posting, or you do all the posting so you can get the job you’re convinced you deserve.
Brother Harold, I’m told, would have none of that. He worked meticulously behind the scenes and let others shine, selflessly helping others succeed.
In an age of instant self-validation, his story and quiet passing remind us there is great worth in devoting your life to doing things well.
Even if the world never knows.

Mark Guydish is a columnist for the Times Leader.


At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk, my dear friend the late Leo Madden was a very close friend of Brother Harold so I had many lunches with him. Brother was all that people say he was but make no mistake, he was every bit the quiet humble man you mention. All too often, we don't notice the great who walk among us. Your Lunch Buddy


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