It seems fitting that I dedicate one more post to the recent death of my father.
And, what better way to do that than to talk about his memorial service.
First off, it took some planning.
You see, Dad never really wanted to talk much about it. I can understand that – I mean, after all, who wants to talk about their death?
But, he did say that he didn't want it to be a big deal – and he just wanted family. We honored those wishes.
We had some opening remarks, we had a prayer, we sang a song, and we read some Scriptures. And then we opened it up for anyone who wanted to share something about my dad.
That was a precious time indeed.
I thought I'd tell you some of the memories I shared about my dad.
When I was a little girl, I can remember my dad coming home from work and sitting on the kitchen floor and playing *jacks* with me – (remember that game?!). He always won because his hands were so much bigger than mine!
We used to pick my dad up from a commuter train that he'd take home from downtown San Francisco. I'll never forget the day when I saw, in the midst of a sea of brown and black and gray suits, one arm raised high above all the rest, holding a red hula hoop. MY dad – just for me!
My dad taught me how to ride a bike. On the street. With a huge downhill. Dad's philosophy was that "it was better to learn how to ride where you're going to ride." Of course, my learning curve involved one crazy, swerving, madcap tear down the hill – where I barely missed the neighbor's parked car, but plowed into their curb and landed (hard) on their front yard.
I don't think I need to tell you about the "adventures" learning how to drive a stick shift. On the street. With huge up and down hills. I remember tears and white knuckles being involved…
Once there was a father-daughter dance at our church. I was so excited to go. But, in one of the only times I can ever remember my dad getting sick, he was too ill to attend. Oh, how disappointed I was. But, do you know how my dad made up for it? He took me to a white-glove luncheon and fashion show at a local department store. I don't think I've ever felt more grown-up.
Should I regale you with the stories of our lengthy bike rides, our hours of shooting baskets, our fun waterskiing, our many exciting vacations? The awful weeks of trying to do geometry homework with a dad who exempted his finals at Cornell?
Or how I earned frequent flier miles at the body shop next door to my dad's business – (hey, once I learned how to drive I was a maniac…). Suffice it to say, among other accidents, that my dad lived to regret loaning me his Firebird to go to a church party. Me, rain, a steep driveway, a sharp turn into the garage, and a retaining wall. Enough said.
I'll never forget the years that I worked for him. Having lunch with him every day. Being proud of his pride in my hard work.
And I'll never forget what a great grandpa he was. He attended everything that my sons were involved in. Every school event, every game, every time they had something to do or somewhere to go – Papa was there.
You know, I could go on and on. The memories flood my mind and fill my heart.
There are so many more stories – stories that I will reflect on in the future, stories that have woven together with my life as part of the tapestry that has become me.
But most importantly, beyond the memories, I will take with me the character and values that my dad passed on to me.
I am who I am today through the influence of Dad's personality and his love. I am grateful that he was my father, and the grandfather of my sons. He was a tough guy, but a good guy – and we are all the better for having known him.
In the days following the service, I've thought a lot about the word – legacy.
The dictionary defines it as this: Anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.
Usually it pertains to material wealth and possessions.
But, I'm thinking more about the personal legacy you leave behind. The footprint in the lives of others because you walked with them. The things that they will carry in their hearts after you are gone.
What about those things? The more and most important things?
What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
For me, it's all about God.
When the time comes that I leave this earth, what I want people to remember the MOST about me is that I loved and served and worshiped the Lord.
Sure, I hope my loved ones are comforted by fond memories and stories. I hope they can think of me with a smile.
But, more than anything, I want my life to have been lived pointing toward Jesus.
I can think of few better things to have someone say than, "You know, Sharon really and truly loved her Lord."
That's the legacy that I want to leave behind.
Because, if my loved ones and friends are left with that last enduring thought, grief will be tempered with hope, confident hope, in the eternity that God has planned for us.
This is what comforted me at my dad's funeral service. And it is what will comfort me in the days and weeks and years that are left for me to live.
There is a life after this life. It is eternal. And we have been given the awesome chance to choose to live it in the presence of God.
Because of Jesus, Only You – we can have JOY forever.
May we live each day knowing this unchanging Truth, and may our lives reflect it.
For when all is said and done, it's all about God – in the beginning, in the middle…
…and in the end.
The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the Word of our God
"Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins...
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things...
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love...
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children's children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.
Praise the LORD, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the LORD."
(Excerpts from Psalm 103, NLT)
What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Jen at SOLI DEO GLORIA
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Salina at HEART REFLECTED
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS
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