14562 days ago
Yesterday I was inspired, in fact, I will never forget the impression a single man has made on my life. A man who I only met once, and even then I truly didn’t understand what kind of man he was, until I went to his funeral yesterday.
For years I have known members of his family, mainly his grand-daughter and son, always very inviting people who I was able to engage in great conversations with. Observing this family was a real pleasure, seeing how close the siblings were, how even through the occasional hard times, they remained extremely close as a family unit.
Last year while traveling in Washington, I was offered to visit Spokane and stay with the daughter of the gentleman’s house whose funeral I attended. For his own privacy and anonymity, let’s call him Joe. Joe’s daughter, who I had never met, treated me and my family like we were royalty who came in town to visit. They offered up their best wine, BBQ salmon, and of course, late evening conversations and singing. We even received a nice tour of the Spokane area.
I remember leaving their house after about 3 days thinking that I wanted to be that warm and welcoming to people who came into my life. My visit with them truly had an impact on me, it made me want to raise a family similar to theirs. I could see throughout their house that there was so much value and history in their home, it is where they raised their two sons.
That is also where I met Joe, a witty 91 year old who was a missionary for 40 official years, but really, a missionary for Christ during most of his adult life since he was 19 years old. Unfortunately those days will go down as a missed opportunity, even though I did have the pleasure of meeting Joe, I sure wish I would have spent more time talking to him about life and how to raise a family.
You see, Joe left a legacy, what he built was generational. Not having a central family figure in my own life, I honestly wasn’t sure if the “larger than life” type person existed in families anymore. Perhaps this was something left up to Hollywood…
But yesterday, I saw evidence of how one man can be a great unifier amongst a very large family. Joe was known for being loving and having an individual relationship with each of his 4 children, 14 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. This is a great example of how to live a full life.
I am not complaining, but I personally have no memory of a visit with my own grandfather who is alive today, we never really spoke, never went to the park, out to eat, or ever engaged in a real relationship. But, Joe made it a point to know his family and to love his family in both words and actions. He wasn’t a rich man, but you know what, all of his grandchildren had great memories of their visits with him and individual personal relationships with him.
Joe gave his family the best gift you can ever give anyone, and that is love. He loved them, and they knew it, and because of that he left behind a real family. Joe built a family that was together and full of love, a real legacy and a great example to us all.
I encourage everyone to make family a priority, set aside special days to meet. If you have children, pour out your heart and soul in them, involve them in everything you do and get rid of the hobbies and limit the activities where they can’t be involved.