“It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you. It’s what you leave behind you when you go” (“Three Wooden Crosses”).
My father was a small man with a large heart. His heart held a deep faith. It was filled with a gracious and holy love for his family and people. He greeted you with a bright smile and a huge hug. O the legacy he left behind! His legacy is heard in the words of a father to his son in Proverbs 3:1-6.
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
When our children were growing up people would ask me about my hobbies. My usual response, “my family is my hobby.” As I look back, that is what Dad taught—a “withness,” a “thereness” he lived toward us. In life, imitating his heavenly Father, Dad left behind his legacy. He cared for us. Dad was responsive to our needs. He was present. He gave of himself to Mom, to us, to others. Dad respected and loved Mom. He respected and loved us. He sought to know us. He forgave us. Dad taught us. He blessed us. This was his legacy given to us.
Two weeks before Dad died, my son Paul and I were visiting. Dad knew. We all knew. His death was near. Dad called me and Paul to his bedside. He spoke of his confidence of God’s presence in his life. Dad spoke of the grace of Christ, how Christ was with him over the years. Christ saw Dad through good and difficult times. Then Dad said, “I hope my family, my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will have faith.” Dad gave a blessing to me and Paul. “This is my blessing to you, faith.”
Remembering you Dad. Thanking you. Loving you.