Sunday, June 24, 2007

Leaving a Legacy

My father passed away last week, at the age of 52. My mom went for a bike ride on Saturday morning, only to return and find him gone - lying in the driveway. He had a massive heart attack.

My dad had never had any serious health concerns, so we were all a bit unprepared for his departure. My wife and I flew up to Michigan as soon as we heard the news.

We spent Sunday and Monday making the necessary arrangements. Tuesday was the wake and Wednesday, the funeral service. It is the most time that I've spent with my two brothers in at least ten years. In a way, it was an enjoyable week spent with my family - considering the circumstances. It was like we had a big family/friends reunion, but no one invited my dad.

At the wake, I got to speak to over a dozen of my dad's co-workers. He worked at a Ford/Mazda assembly plant for 20 years, so these men spent more time with my dad than just about anyone. They spoke of his devotion to reading the Bible during his breaks, and two of them even told me that he had introduced them to Jesus.

At the funeral service, a handful of people spoke about my dad's competitive spirit, his devotion to Jesus, his love of his three granddaughters, his commitment to his church, and his fondness for reading and golf.

My uncle Greg hired a bagpipe player (at my father's request) to play both during the service at the church and again at the cemetery for the burial. There were also servicemen on hand at the cemetery to play "Taps" on the trumpet and to remove the American Flag from the casket as my father was a veteran. Despite the obvious bias that it was my own father's funeral - I have to say that it was easily the most beautiful funeral I have ever attended. I can only hope that I deserve such an occasion upon my own death.

At the funeral, I spoke of my father's legacy, both earthly and spiritual. Pastor Steven Sparks spoke of my father meeting so many people as he arrived in heaven, and I spoke of all of the people that my father was going to greet as they arrived later as a part of his spiritual legacy.

Throughout the proceedings, the gospel was clearly given to all who were willing to hear it. It was made clear to all that my family would gladly give up my father's life in exchange for one person who was willing to devote their own life to following Jesus.

My mom has been a rock throughout this ordeal. She is a shining example of the hope that we have in Jesus. My friend referred to it as my family's "deep religious convictions", but I prefer to call it the "hope we have in Jesus."

I love you dad. Thank you for letting Jesus be a part of our family from the very beginning. I'm going to miss you, and I can't wait to see you again. Don't worry, we'll all pitch in and take care of mom. She'll be fine. I'm going to keep preaching Jesus, dad. And I'm going to try to live healthier too from here on out. Sorry I didn't make more time for you. And sorry I wasn't more competitive. I'm really proud of you Dad, and your devotion to Jesus. Your character really shined this week as a testimony of a life devoted to God and building God's Kingdom. I promise that I will stay true to Jesus for the rest of my life....


docrivs said...

Lew, I really respect what you wrote about your father and the legacy that he left with you, your family, and the world. I'm sad that you lost your father when he was still a young guy (from what I can tell), but I'm glad that you have a good support system. You keep doing what you do, and that would have made him feel even more proud about having you as his son. I'm sure he was very proud to be your father.

Chad said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your dad Lew. He sounds like a man we should all strive to be.

Ryan M. Powell said...

Lew, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. I'm sure it hurts pretty bad, and I just want you to know I think about you a lot. I think you already know I consider you one of the really great people I've met out here on the road, so I was really saddened to have read this post. Hang in there. My thoughts will continue to be with you and your family.

revolution said...

Thanks for the encouragement, guys.

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