Time is strange. As a child, 5 minutes in timeout felt like eternity. Our wedding, now almost 10 years past doesn’t feel that long ago. And then there’s the instances where a major event happens in your life and all you can think about what life was like before and after that event. Such is the case with saying goodbye to my father last year. I think of life in terms of all the time that we shared together when he was with us and now, the time without him.
Just about a year ago we gathered with our dear friends and family to say goodbye and thank you. Somedays it feels like a lifetime ago. Other days it feels like just yesterday that he was here. I had an opportunity to give the “thanks” on behalf of our family. In the midst of all the things that were going on at the time, I didn’t think to save what I wrote and I threw away the only copy of my words. Or so I thought.
I was going to write my annual birthday post and low and behold I had actually copied my speech to share here (insert my tears here). Now it really felt like it was yesterday that I was talking with my Dad.
We try our best to keep his legacy alive each day and I tried my best to share what I thought he would want others to know — that you have a purpose and you are loved:
Hi Everyone. As many of you know I’m Wendell’s second son – the one that doesn’t speak very much and doesn’t get emotional…. so this will be short and not emotional. Well we can only hope.
I’ll do my best to be concise because Dad was a man who loved efficiency and valued his time. To get things done, he often made lists so I did the same, and have 3 things I wanted to do on behalf of my family, and more importantly, Dad.
Number 1 – Thank you: Thank you for joining our family this morning in celebrating Dad’s life. Whether you traveled over an ocean or just over the H-3, thank you.
I also wanted to take this time to thank all of you for your support during these challenging few months. Thank you for offering your cars, for bringing us meals, for crying with us, for praying with us. And know that one of the most important things to us was just knowing you were available if we needed anything. Thank you.
And thank you for the way you have impacted my father’s life and my family’s life. Dad really, really valued relationships. As you heard from our friends and family earlier and as I look out the room here, you know and feel that this is true. As dad would say, “You are part of the family” – something so much bigger.
Which brings me to the my second thing – Dad loved to challenge and instill wisdom in people’s lives. He knew that relationships help us to grow as people. That our lives are continually impacting each other.
Dad loved to be a teacher and a mentor. Even while in hospice care, he felt a calling to continue to teach and encourage. So I wanted to share a lesson he shared with me: what will you do with your life because it is a unique and beautiful gift.
I think Dad valued time and was intentional about it because he knew life was short and sacred. It drove him to live with purpose and with an important mission to love and honor God and to love and serve others. Thinking back on many conversations I’ve had with him or with others, Dad was always challenging and trying to find out what mattered the most and how we will use what precious time we have in our lives.
I know Dad would want to ask you: what is your mission? What is your calling? How will you honor the fact that you are uniquely and wonderfully made, called with purpose and most importantly, incredibly loved. Dad would want you to know that you have a purpose and you are loved.
And the final thing I know Dad would ask of me to do at a time like this is….to hurry up. He’d say that but he would also probably say, “Jedd, can you pray”. So let’s pray together.
Dear heavenly father, Lord of all creation, thank you for bringing us all here today to celebrate Wendell, a loving husband, a great friend, a brother in Christ, our amazing Dad. God, you are love. Thank you for the ways you shared your love through Dad. Thank you for all of the people here and the way you have perfectly weaved all of our stories together.
Lord Jesus, thank you for enduring the suffering and then dying on the cross because you love us. Thank you for being Dad’s inspiration and teacher, and for walking with Dad and all of us during his most difficult times.
And Holy Spirit I ask that you could continue to move in all of our lives. Help us to remember whatever lessons you wanted us to learn through Dad, and help us to love and serve others. I ask that you will continue to bless everyone here and that they will know and feel your presence in their lives.
I ask all of these things in Jesus’ mighty name who taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
We love you Dad. There’s not a day that goes by when we don’t think about you. May you continue to fish in peace.