Friday, August 24, 2007

Sunday marks the 13th anniversary of my father's death. It is also his sister's (my aunt's) birthday.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to celebrate my birthday on the anniversary of my brother's homegoing. I do know she has always done so with grace.

My father was a very humble and gentle man. He seldom spoke harshly, and wore a smile on his face that became his signature. All who knew him recognized that smile. He spent his career as a teacher and guidance counselor in elementary schools. His passion was fourth grade. He loved and invested in the lives of children.

He was often the only man in their lives who seemed to care. This demeanor and non-threatening approach caused those in his presence to be at ease.

He spent his life in schools. He had impact on many families in the town he raised us in. Never would we realize how significant an impact...until much later.

He was not a man who argued. He did not battle for the limelight. He did not seem comfortable being the focus of attention.

Daily, I saw him in the word. It is forever etched in my mind, and I know he has set the example of Jesus for his children to live by, even for his grandchildren to die, by.

He did not know about mechanical things. He was not a sports enthusiast. He did not teach me to fix broken stuff. He showed me by example how to love on the Savior.

He tended his yard as if it were the finest of gardens. He seemed to know that it brought joy to my mother, but it also brought joy to him. He treated her like a queen. Breakfast in bed every morning, until he had to be served the same as he battled a disease that took him quickly.

I remember visiting my sister in Virginia in early July when we received a call that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I remember going for a long walk alone, and pouring my tears upon the pavement. This cancer killed quickly and there was seldom hope as once diagnosed, it was usually too late.

We left Virginia to head home. How could you think about anything else? The memories flooded my thoughts. He was an incredible grandpa to my children. He played games on the floor with them. He was the patient to their being the doctor. He sat in a motionless car for hours with my son as he pretended to be grandpa, and grandpa pretended to be BJ.

He was the most patient father one could have. He taught us how to walk out our faith. He was an excellent example of what a true believer looked like. He was generally silent, but when social injustice sprang to life, he would fire off a letter to the editor of our paper. Very well written, and it's point made the contrary view seem foolish and impertinent.

His peers invested in their careers and sought financial gain. He invested in his family and reaped a wealthy harvest.

He held my children accountable in areas I was inexperienced. They had such respect for him that when he asked a question, if they did not have a reasonable answer, they sought out reasons for their actions, and it often changed their attitudes.

He treated my wife as one of his own. He delighted in her, and made her part of the family. His expressions of love toward her are seldom known by daughters-in-law. His loss grieved her tremendously. She was not alone.

His "viewing" brought about enormous surprise. Neighbors of the funeral home he was honored in visited to see what celebrity had passed, as they had never seen lines the length of his for any other funeral.

The lives he touched from a gentle disposition spoke volumes about what the life of Christ really means to those in our world who are lost and hurting. He was Jesus to them and when he passed, they came out in numbers so great I could not believe it. He touched so many. More than I thought he even knew. He was quiet, gentle and unassuming.

There was no pretense in him...only Jesus.

I love you dad. I miss you. Thank you for your legacy. No son could be prouder of his father. You are the aroma of Christ!


Happy Birthday Aunt Maralyn, I love you!


At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Still reading, still praying. Our families are so precious! What an honor it is to know people like that in our lives. I pray I leave the same legacy.

In Christ, Shelly
Noblesville, Indiana

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one word amazing!!oh yaeh i'm a student at sapulpa middle school and tell MRS.HIGGINS COME BACK!!!!

We miss you sooo much!!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

Praying for you on this day of remembering. . .

in this season of remembering. . .


in pink
with tender love,


At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, still reading...
God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana


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