As I sit here sifting through photos, this one of Christina and her grandfather caused me to stop and ponder my dad’s legacy through Christina.
Growing up, I always considered my father to be the most unselfish person I had ever known. Then I met Carol (my wife) and then Christina (our first born). Together, they have all been inducted into my personal “Unselfish People Hall of Fame.” I have always aspired to be inducted into this illustrious group, however, I’m not holding my breath. As most of my friends know, my father is a minister and his influence on my life has been considerable. He has always lived a humble life. His possessions are few and he will undoubtedly leave this world owning little more than when he entered. Oh, but the lives that he’s touched with his legacy of selflessness. One of his sayings I am most fond of is, “I have everything I want and don’t need anything that I have.” His churches were small but his impact was huge. My father was ahead of the curve with “the bus ministry.” Back in the 70s, our version was an unreliable old Volkswagen bus that I would ride with him into impoverished areas of town and together we’d pick up needy children and take them to our little frame church, feed them, and tell them about a loving God. Average attendance for his little churches numbered in the thirties. My stories of growing up as the youngest of five in our family of seven in a little two bedroom one bath church parsonage are many and I will save them for another day. I will say that when we traveled in our old ’59 red Chevy station wagon, our version of in-car entertainment was to lay on the floorboard and slide the old license plate to the side that covered the holes and watch the road pass underneath, anxiously awaiting the inevitable flat tire that always occurred.
What does all this have to do with Christina, you may ask? While Christina grew up with all the material advantages that I did not, of infinite more importance, she inherited her granddaddy’s and Carol’s massive fortune of selflessness. It was in my dad and Carol’s spiritual DNA, just as it is in hers. As I reflect on these three people that have so generously allowed me to be the beneficiary of their unselfishness, I am reminded of these words from the Bible:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8