A Life Well Lived
April 11, 1920 - December 16, 2009
The Lord came and took my father home. The following will be read by myself at his funeral.
We come to this place to celebrate a life well lived. Depending on your relationship with Dad, we celebrate the life of John, J.E., Johnny, Uncle John, Papa, Yogi, or Papa Yogi. He would answer to any of these names. One might ask, "What does the phrase, A Well Lived Life" mean? Upon examination of the scriptures we can find many characteristics of the well lived life.
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men."Colossians 3:23
God teaches us that everything we do in life should be done in such a manner as to honor the Lord. We should take pride in our work because our work should bring glory to God. There is value in work and there is great value in work done well. I builds a good reputation and allows you to sleep well at night. My father was great worker. Dad had a gift for understanding mechanical objects. If it had a moving part, Dad could fix it. It didn't matter if it was your lawnmower or your automobile. It didn't matter if it was your hair dryer or your clothes dryer. If you were a neighbor of my Dad, you were among the blessed. If it was broken, give it to John, he can fix anything. Dad loved to fix things for others. He loved the challenge of figuring out what was wrong, and how to fix the problem. He love saving himself and others time and money by fixing things that didn't work anymore. It seems that lawnmowers were his passion. People would give him broken ones and he used them for spare parts. I can remember that it seemed like every shrub in our yard had a broken down lawnmower parked under it. It was kind of like a mechanical Easter egg hunt to go and see what was hidden under the landscape.
Dad loved the railroad and worked for the same company for forty-two years. It was his first love until he met the love of his life, my mother.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her." Ephesians 5:25
In 1941 in Henryetta, Oklahoma, Dad met the love of his life. They were married on November 14, 1942 and spent sixty glorious years together, until Mom wen home to the Lord on June 4, 2003. No man ever loved his bride and gave himself up for her like Dad. In 1999 Alzheimer's had taken it's toll and Mom entered a nursing home. For three and one half years Dad went to the nursing home every day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. He would arrive by 9:00 a.m. and leave around 9:00 p.m. The staff was amazed. They had never seen any husband show such love and devotion to his bride. Dad had spent his life providing for his family and he wasn't about to let something like Alzheimer's keep him from loving and caring for his wife. For over sixty years their relationship was the perfect example of what a marriage is supposed to look like.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Dad was saved after he married Mom. At the age of three, I was a witness to his baptism. I thought the pastor was trying to drown Dad. None the less, the example had been set. Confess your sins before men, invite Jesus Christ into your heart, and follow our Lord in baptism. At the age of nine, I was saved... and I didn't drown. And while his work did not allow him to be the servant in the church that some are, Dad gave his time whenever possible. And just like Dad's neighbors, the pastor soon found out that Dad could fix anything and was more than willing to do so.
" Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
I don't know of any child who hasn't been upset with the discipline that their parents have administered at some point in time. The truth is, we were mostly upset that we got caught. The discipline that came from Dad was swift, fair and never without warning. The motivation was never anger, rather it was love. Just like my Heavenly Father, Dad loved me and everything that he did, he did with the motivation of training a boy how to be a man some day. A man who loves his Lord, loves his wife, loves his children, and loves his work. If I live to be half the man that my father was, I will have lived to be twice the man that most others are, and that will be "A Life Well Lived."