Many of you who know me well, know that the past 3 weeks have been the most challenging of my life. Our daddy passed away suddenly and tragically due to a senseless accident which led to a chain of events over the next two weeks leading to his passing last week. Untimely. Sudden. Unexpected and tragic. We were blessed to have this incredible man in our lives for the time we did….and every single person who knew him would agree.
As we grapple with the ‘new normal’ and realizing that my handsome, brilliant, egoless, and selfless daddy will not ever come walking through the door again, there are definite lessons to learn. Though this blog is not intended to pay homage to him (this will come later perhaps in the form of a book); I hope this will offer a few universal truths of which we have been reminded due to this horrific experience, from which we may all benefit.
- Nothing on this earthly plane is permanent. What is eternal is the love we share and experience. My family believes in Divine Providence and a guiding hand in every aspect of life. My father’s life taught this in spades. We believe love is the glue which binds us all eternally. As I wrote about in my first book….I believe we are here to teach one another, to learn from one another and to serve….and ALL this is bound together by LOVE. That is eternal. Daddy’s life and legacy is anchored by this love.
- There is a time for everything. One of our family’s favorite passages is: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens……” …..as much as we did not want Daddy to leave the earthly plane….there is a Divine hand at work and we trust in this Faith. And yes, this goes for every single aspect of our lives. This is not to say we do not own our lives….as we absolutely own our choices which manifest and create our lives. My daddy believed this and set the ultimate example through the course of his life. To make it real and applicable to those of you reading this…..If you are ever ‘unhappy’ with where you find yourself….he would suggest you have had come to a fork in the road. We either need to change our attitude (our response to our conditions) OR we change the conditions we can change. Daddy believed we had control over three things and three things only: Our ATTITUDE, our BEHAVIORS, and our CHOICES (our ABC’s). Thus, when we meet adversity, hardship, challenges, and in this case: the unexpected departure of those most dear….we can only control our RESPONSE to those conditions. Hard. Hard. Hard. Yet as mom. Gretchen, and I keep reminding ourselves: Daddy would expect nothing less from ‘his girls’.
- The present moment is all we have. Yes, as I wrote about in my first book, this means embracing each and every minute and experiencing its full potency. We are guaranteed nothing more. How grateful I am to have had the time I had with my entire family for 55 years. We did indeed relish and LIVE each and every moment. We are grateful for our close, fun-filled, laughter-loaded, wisdom-rich relationships as a unified family of four. And, as I wrote in the last chapter of my 2nd book, I believe as long as we are alive, we have purpose. In fact, here is an excerpt from that chapter, which is quite poignant given the events of the last two weeks:
“Years ago, while I was recovering from surgery, I remember lamenting to my father about wanting to find my purpose in life and wondering if I even had a purpose. My father’s response in a very matter of fact tone was, ‘You have one, otherwise you would be dead.’”
As long as we are alive we have a reason for being here. Each of us has a destiny to fulfill and ‘a seat to take’. We have a reason for being here….as long as we have breath. And when we are ‘called home’, our job and our lessons in ‘earth school’ are completed. Yet, while we are here we must reach, stretch, give, serve, listen, teach, and love. How we give to, serve and LOVE one another is the legacy we leave.
I want to close this article with the other scripture reading we offered at daddy’s celebration of life last week. It is one I have referenced (paraphrased) for years in my keynote addresses and my books relative to a “Peace that passes all understanding”….and it is one, which I hope will grace your life and your perspective over the coming months and years.
Philippians 4: 4-9: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to those of you who traveled far and wide to come to daddy’s services, we were humbled beyond words by the number of souls daddy obviously touched in his life. And for those of you who have been kind, supportive, and empathetic to my family – thank you so very much. This is life….and what I know for sure is these challenges are eased by Faith in a Divine Hand and the support of friends.