Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Life Well-Lived

Having lost my own father 16 months ago, I wasn't at all thrilled about the prospect of attending the funeral of a friend's father. I had a lot of respect for the deceased, but I did not want to churn up the memory of losing dad.  Ultimately, I went to the funeral and was greatly blessed for having done so.

Unexpected Blessing

My father, circa 1982. The awkward adolescent
in the photo to his right is me.
Yes. The greatest song ever written, and a favorite of both my father and mother, "Amazing Grace" was sung during the funeral service. The beauty and message in that timeless old song, mingled with the memories of my dad, brought forth the waters, so to speak. I was wishing I hadn't come.

As people began to eulogize about the departed gentleman, I realized I was there for a reason. A Godly man, husband, father, son, brother, visionary, and leader were some of the words used to describe what he had been. Faith, integrity, character, and love were some of the qualities it was professed that he possessed. I know it all to be true from having known the man.

The hole created in me with the passing of my father will never be filled, without question. Hearing the words, witnessing the heartfelt confessions, and seeing the throngs of people that came to pay their last respects to a man that truly lived the qualities that remain dormant in so many of us, however, taught me a much-needed lesson.

Faith and Hard Work

There is no doubt the man for whom we mourned was not born with the fully-developed qualities that he evidenced throughout his adult life, none of us are. His integrity, leadership, character, vision, and love were things that came through his faith in God and much cultivation. Cultivation he had certainly done.

His faith being well-founded, and practiced, and first in his life, undoubtedly led to those dormant qualities with which we are all born being able to grow and flourish. The generations he touched, all of which were represented at his funeral, were enriched by the fact that he had put in the effort.

A Rich and Rewarding Life

I was tempted to say, "We can only hope to make a difference in the lives of so many," but that isn't true. Things like "hope" and "luck" have no meaning here. We merely need to have the type of faith, put in the work, or "sow the seeds," in order for ourselves and others to reap the benefits.

Yes, I was blessed by witnessing the funeral of a great man.  Seeing the life of a man in full went a long way toward repairing the hole left in my life by my father's death and showing me what a life well-lived looks like. It is an attainable goal.

Further Reading:
Losing Dad: How a Man Responds to the Death of His Father at

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