Banman – Celebration of a life well-lived
Grand County, CO Colorado
This weekend marks another trail marker in the journey which our family has been on since my father passed away from a stroke on Oct. 14. We will be gathering at a cemetery in Kansas for a service in which we will place his ashes in the ground but, more importantly, to remember and celebrate his life.
The weather forecast is for sunny skies, but I know coat collars will be turned up for protection against the wind that will be blowing across the frozen prairie. The sunny skies will make a fitting backdrop for a ceremony to honor a man that brought so much sunshine to so many lives. The bitter wind will be a reminder of the pain and grief that is subsiding, yet still lingers.
More and more, I am meeting young people who are from homes in which the primary caregiver in their lives has been their mother. For the most part, these young people seem to be well-adjusted and contributing members of society. God bless their moms for all they have done and for the sacrifices they have made. In each of these situations, my mind always wanders to thinking of how their lives would be different if they had had the benefit of having both parents available on a regular basis. The next logical step for me is to think of all the things which my father contributed to my life.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a column about my father. The occasion was Father’s Day and it was my way of expressing my feelings for and to my dad. When I read those words again, they seemed fitting and I share them again.
Without a doubt, my father has been the most influential male figure in my life. For a brief time, I thought that figure was my high school basketball coach, but as the years played out I realized that nearly every important lesson I learned in life, I learned from home. My father modeled for me hard work, generosity without conditions, quiet humility, giving people equal consideration, listening before talking, finding humor in life and, most importantly, a faith that is strengthened by adversity. For years, I always had the security of knowing that if my world was turned upside down, if everything I knew was taken away from me, I always had a home. I had a fallback position in which I had complete trust. I never had to play that card, but I remember the security of having a trump card, an “ace in the hole.”
As the years have eroded the physical strength of my father, an inner strength has been revealed. Over the past couple years, illness has robbed him of his endurance, taken one of his kidneys and now forced him to endure dialysis three times a week. There are moments of despair and discouragement, but what I also see is a peace and a willingness to accept what has happened without bitterness and without cynicism. What I see is a man who has security in something that isn’t based on wealth, good looks, political affiliation, health, physical strength, ideal weight, station in life. In other words, his success isn’t based on anything that can be taken away in an instant by the next hike in the price of oil or a physical calamity. It is based in a faith that transcends the transparency of physical and financial success.
On Sunday, I will join my family in lowering into the ground a small box containing the ashes of my father. It will be a symbolic gesture of committing his physical remains to the earth. It will be comforting for me to realize that the valuable lessons he taught with carefully chosen words can not be contained and they will continue to live on in the lives of those people who were touched by his life. Thank you, Dad.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.