Monday, February 17, 2014

MY DAD - A LAST REMEMBRANCE


It seems fitting that I dedicate one more post to the recent death of my father.

And, what better way to do that than to talk about his memorial service.

First off, it took some planning.

You see, Dad never really wanted to talk much about it.  I can understand that – I mean, after all, who wants to talk about their death?

But, he did say that he didn't want it to be a big deal – and he just wanted family.  We honored those wishes.

We had some opening remarks, we had a prayer, we sang a song, and we read some Scriptures.  And then we opened it up for anyone who wanted to share something about my dad.

That was a precious time indeed.


I thought I'd tell you some of the memories I shared about my dad.

When I was a little girl, I can remember my dad coming home from work and sitting on the kitchen floor and playing *jacks* with me (remember that game?!).  He always won because his hands were so much bigger than mine!

We used to pick my dad up from a commuter train that he'd take home from downtown San Francisco.  I'll never forget the day when I saw, in the midst of a sea of brown and black and gray suits, one arm raised high above all the rest, holding a red hula hoop.  MY dad – just for me!

My dad taught me how to ride a bike.  On the street.  With a huge downhill.  Dad's philosophy was that "it was better to learn how to ride where you're going to ride."  Of course, my learning curve involved one crazy, swerving, madcap tear down the hill – where I barely missed the neighbor's parked car, but plowed into their curb and landed (hard) on their front yard.

I don't think I need to tell you about the "adventures" learning how to drive a stick shift.  On the street.  With huge up and down hills.  I remember tears and white knuckles being involved…

Once there was a father-daughter dance at our church.  I was so excited to go.  But, in one of the only times I can ever remember my dad getting sick, he was too ill to attend.  Oh, how disappointed I was.  But, do you know how my dad made up for it?  He took me to a white-glove luncheon and fashion show at a local department store.  I don't think I've ever felt more grown-up.

Should I regale you with the stories of our lengthy bike rides, our hours of shooting baskets, our fun waterskiing, our many exciting vacations? The awful weeks of trying to do geometry homework with a dad who exempted his finals at Cornell?

Or how I earned frequent flier miles at the body shop next door to my dad's business – (hey, once I learned how to drive I was a maniac…).  Suffice it to say, among other accidents, that my dad lived to regret loaning me his Firebird to go to a church party.  Me, rain, a steep driveway, a sharp turn into the garage, and a retaining wall.  Enough said.

I'll never forget the years that I worked for him.  Having lunch with him every day.  Being proud of his pride in my hard work.

And I'll never forget what a great grandpa he was.  He attended everything that my sons were involved in.  Every school event, every game, every time they had something to do or somewhere to go – Papa was there.


You know, I could go on and on.  The memories flood my mind and fill my heart.

There are so many more stories – stories that I will reflect on in the future, stories that have woven together with my life as part of the tapestry that has become me.

But most importantly, beyond the memories, I will take with me the character and values that my dad passed on to me.

I am who I am today through the influence of Dad's personality and his love.  I am grateful that he was my father, and the grandfather of my sons.  He was a tough guy, but a good guyand we are all the better for having known him.


In the days following the service, I've thought a lot about the word – legacy.

The dictionary defines it as this: Anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

Usually it pertains to material wealth and possessions.

But, I'm thinking more about the personal legacy you leave behind.  The footprint in the lives of others because you walked with them.  The things that they will carry in their hearts after you are gone.

What about those things?  The more and most important things?

What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?

For me, it's all about God.

When the time comes that I leave this earth, what I want people to remember the MOST about me is that I loved and served and worshiped the Lord.

Sure, I hope my loved ones are comforted by fond memories and stories. I hope they can think of me with a smile.

But, more than anything, I want my life to have been lived pointing toward Jesus.

I can think of few better things to have someone say than, "You know, Sharon really and truly loved her Lord."

That's the legacy that I want to leave behind.

Because, if my loved ones and friends are left with that last enduring thought, grief will be tempered with hope, confident hope, in the eternity that God has planned for us.

This is what comforted me at my dad's funeral service.  And it is what will comfort me in the days and weeks and years that are left for me to live.

There is a life after this life.  It is eternal.  And we have been given the awesome chance to choose to live it in the presence of God.

Because of Jesus, Only You – we can have JOY forever.


May we live each day knowing this unchanging Truth, and may our lives reflect it.

For when all is said and done, it's all about God – in the beginning, in the middle…

…and in the end.






The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the Word of our God
stands forever.




"Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins...
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things...

The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love...
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.

The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.

But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children's children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!

The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.
Praise the LORD, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the LORD."

(Excerpts from Psalm 103, NLT)


What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?


Linked today with:

Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Jen at SOLI DEO GLORIA
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Salina at HEART REFLECTED
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

35 comments:

  1. Great Post Sharon, Thank you for sharing this with us. God Bless

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  2. This is so beautiful, my sweet friend. I lost my dad in 2002 and my mom in 2010. Their legacy (an memories) live on in their 8 children. You are so right about the most important thing to be remembered for...your love for Jesus. Bless you as the precious memories of your dad continue to warm your heart. I just know that he must have felt so blessed to have daughter like you!

    God bless you!
    Debby

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  3. Hi Sharon! Thank you for sharing all those wonderful stories about your father. You really are "Sharon Sharing God"! How could he love you so much unless he knew the love of God? (Love the hula-hoop story!)

    And how supportive he was! Going to all your sons events, having lunch with you all those times...I can just see how you would want to pass along that legacy to your family too.
    And don't forget what a blessing you were to him too. Even though you wrecked his car! Lol! Our Dad's are amazing people. I'm so glad that he saw that you were too.
    Happy Monday, with happy memories my friend,
    Ceil

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  4. Thank you Sharon for sharing these special memories of your dad, and I know there are so many more! He left a wonderful legacy for you and your family and I know you will remember him always and will continue to remember those special things he did and those special traits of his. Your legacy is the same legacy I want to leave. I want people to know that I loved God and made him known. Now for me to live my life like that.

    hugs!

    betty

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  5. And your dad's legacy lives on (Bravo!) ... through a beautiful tribute and such wonderful memories of you and your dad! Bitter sweet ... but lasting. This is such a lasting way to remember him and I'm sure that your legacy will be what you wrote along with that unforgettable SMILE and Love of the LORD you share especially here!

    I am blessed in each one that you pen and look forward to watching God continue to weave His legacy in you and through you because of Him and your dad (mom, too) for you give honor to all with your touching and heartfelt words. Thank you for sharing him and them with us. What a beautiful way to celebrate ones' life and the DASH - (do you remember this that I shared on my blog?) I'll share the direct link to the poem by Linda Ellis as a movie. I wanted to share the poem here but since it's copyrighted, they also rather have you just link ... LOve the tie in with Jesus, Only You ... enJOY! Love, Peggy (still praying and thinking of you each day)

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    1. Here's the author reading her poem on a You Tube
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVLqkExH5ww#t=22

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    2. Oh and my legacy could not have been expressed any better than you have ... that I would fill my --- Dash --- with "Peggy lived, loved and lavishly served the Lord Jesus Christ with all she had and was, she loved..." as my legacy ... and if I improve at this "...more like Jesus every day, His way"... May He erase all my failings and imperfections so this is the way I may be remembered best ... perhaps with more laughter in my dash (now that I'm so salt and pepper colored) ... love that you shared Psalm 103 too! Although I'm sure that the intimacy of your dad's memorial with family was so special, I know it was still difficult yet it's the good times that you shared in this remembrance that will tenderly hold and be held in your very heart and mind. Treasure each one with a tear and then a smile ... knowing all the while ... "it's gonna be worth it" someday (but frankly I'd rather plan ahead, discuss my memorial plans now while I can, so if/when it comes ... it's ready).
      The sad part is that I don't know who will execute those wishes. (sigh)

      just me again or still ... lingering while I pray and think of you, your dad and my aunts (because my last aunt passed away last week, the oldest ..who I'm sure was thinking since all the rest are gone, she's held on long enough-in her 90s-and completed her job, yet she still leaves behind her family and grandkids) ...

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    3. sorry, I meant to link this song to the quote "it's gonna be worth it"

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  6. Sharon, such a heartwarming post. I know your dad would have been so proud. To have so many memories with your father is, indeed, a blessing. I can only hope I'm remembered as one who encouraged fellow travelers along the way, one who prayed for her friends and family, and one who shared her stories with others.

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  7. I want to leave the same legacy as you, Sharon. I want others to know that I was a person who loved and worshiped her God. I want to cause others to desire to know Him by the life I lead.
    Everything you have written about your dad has been wonderful. I can tell that he was a great man. I know you will miss him, as I do my dad, and in time the pain has a way of lessening so we can carry on.

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  8. What a wonderful tribute to a man after God's own heart. Reminds me of my own dad. It'll be four years for me coming up in May and a day doesn't pass without my thoughts about my dad and how my Father used him mightily in my life.

    May my legacy fall in line with yours, sister. That'a a life well lived.

    Praying for you in this time.

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  9. Your dad sounds like a wonderful father Sharon. There's great comfort in knowing there is more after this life.

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  10. What a precious and blessed legacy you have been left with. A dad and grandpa who was THERE, PRESENT in your life and your kids lives. And a dad who taught you the most important things in life. You are rich because of it!

    Yes, I pray very similar things as what you have listed, for my own life. When our parents go to heaven, we realize the line is getting shorter, and it intensifies our own desires to be God's best.

    Love this Sharon, and so would your dad.

    Hugs!
    P.S... yes, hubby both collects and deals in western antiques...

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  11. Dear Sharon
    When a child grow up with an earthly father as yours, it is so much easier than when a child grows up with an abusive, absent, violent or alcoholic father. But then; Jesus did come to bind up the broken-hearted. I am so glad and thankful for the legacy your father left.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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  12. Sharon, I know your heart hurts but such joy is found as you share your memories of your dad. Truly a beautiful post. I personally can see God weaving Joy into your life. It really is seen in your words. And in a week when Satan has really been trying to steal my own joy, you encourage me in a way I needed. And this... "Because of Jesus, Only You – we can have JOY forever."
    I'm so grateful we are on this JOY journey together. You are a blessing.
    Hugs to you friend.

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  13. Such a beautiful post my friend. Your Dad lives on through your precious life. He is watching over you, always. I love you.

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  14. You know what - when my parents died - I got a pretty little book. Kept it by my desk for like a year. And I would write and write and write about all my memories of them. And then I have kept it - knowing all my memories would be safe and sound forever. Sounds like you had a wonderful father. Sandie

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  15. Beautiful, Sharon. You are so right. It's all about God! May we all leave a legacy that honors Him!

    Blessings, Joan

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  16. I loved this post about all the sweet and thoughtful things your dad did for you. It is not wrong to be sad that he has passed. He has NOT left you, only gone before you and is waiting. Continue to remember all the good times, and even the disappointments because he was human. He now owns a glorified body without pain and can run and sing a happy tune with all the angels. Thank you for sharing your awesome story with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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  17. This quote from Ann Voskamp made me think of you. ""The joy of the Lord is your strength and the person of Christ is your unassailable joy – and the battle for joy is nothing less than fighting the good fight of faith." ~ Ann Voskamp

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  18. What a beautiful glimpse of your relationship with your dad you have shared. Thank you! What precious memories for you to cherish. A legacy of God! Yes, let it be so for all of us.

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  19. Beautiful! Your loss while deep and lasting resonates throughout the post but the legacy and joyful memories will help you as you heal! Visiting you today from Whimsical Wednesday!

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  20. I lost my mom in Oct 2012 and she too left a legacy of loving Christ and living for Him. Your beautiful post is so honoring to your dad. Thank you for sharing.

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  21. This made me cry, just as I feared or thought it would when I saw the title. I loved the stories you shared here. My favorite was the hoola hoop until he took you to the fashion show. I loved that. I can tell that he left you a lasting legacy (using your very word) of incredible love, shown in that unique way that only a father can show it to a daughter.

    I've thought a lot about that in the weeks since your father passed away. Between your posts and our emails, I feel as if I have an idea of the man and your relationship and have thought so often how every father (the good ones at least) manages to form a completely unique bond with his kids that we don't really understand until we look back on it in summary. Then, we see the whole story, and it's what remains.

    Loved what you said about the legacy that you want to leave too. I have thought often that in my obituary, I will be happy if they just say, "Debbie died today. She loved the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, and strength and loved her neighbor as herself. "

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  22. Sorry to be so late to this very important post, btw. I really and truly do feel as if there is a merry go round that I'm on that has run amok and will not let me off.

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  23. So beautiful Sharon! I loved reading the stories and memories of you and your dad. So precious. ♥

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  24. Neat. Good way to explain his heart and yours. I already have my funeral/memorial time listed. Certain songs, for sure, and maybe a speaking time from me will force people to hear the Lord from my heart. Know when I'm in heaven, I want more to come up to see me and not never have a heart for the Lord. This was neat to read of your Dad, though.

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  25. Your tribute post is beautiful. I love reading about your special memories with your dad! My dad taught me to ride a bike too and drive! I bet the memorial was very special.

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  26. Sharon - I haven't visited in a while and wasn't aware of your Dad's passing. Please accept my condolences. This is a beautiful tribute to your Dad.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  27. Beautiful Sharon. Even though my husband and I both have good memories about our father we both try hard to make good memories with our children. We know how important it is to have those memories to fall back on when grief comes to us. I believe our children will stand up and tell of God story in our life and be blessed.

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  28. I'm so grateful you were blessed with a loving, nurturing dad, Sharon. Thank you for sharing this. I love your reflection of how you want to live your life pointing to Jesus.

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  29. Sharon, my dear friend, you are leaving that legacy already to your family and the world around you--that you love, worship, and serve the Lord. It is evident in every word you write here. They are words straight from the center of your heart that adores the Lord.
    Those were beautiful memories you shared about your Father. And as you shared, I remembered some with my Father--the high school Father-Daughter dances that he so proudly attended until he became ill with cancer and died in my senior year. He also taught me how to drive--I love your hairy bike and driving stories!!! I am definitely my Father's child--which means I need some tempering at times.
    In your memories, I hear the love and laughter you shared with your Father and his pride in you. No wonder you are so smart--your brain took after him. Wow, being exempted from finals at Cornell!!! Amazing. God has gifted you as well, in other ways to honor Him. And you do.
    While this is a difficult time for you, Sharon, you have found a way to share the JOY of knowing your Father with us. Thank you for this treasured post.
    Love,
    Janis

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  30. This is a very moving post, Sharon. You have such beautiful memories of your father and the investment he made into you and his grandchildren is something to treasure.
    Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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  31. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful dad!! Any dad that would play 'jacks' with his daughter is extraordinary. I remember playing 'jacks' and I remember riding the BART train in San Francisco too.

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  32. Every time I read a blog about a parent having a lasting impact on the bloggers life it encouraged my heart. My mother is still alive and I am always amazed at how tough she can be. She has to live in a nursing home where she can get round the clock care and it's so hard for she is pretty sharp mentally, just her body has given up, but not her spirit. She so wants to go home and leave her dress of flesh that is tattered and so worn out. Yet God continues to leave her here. She is very social and tries to go to all the events in the nursing home, talks to everyone one, always has a smile. But when talking to me even on the phone she cries a lot. so many of her friends have died. But she will leave me with many good memories and a desire to leave one too.

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!