His deep bass voice was easily recognizable and his laugh echoed the same beautiful tone. His snow white hair and beard adorned his large frame and gave off the aura of importance.
He would snap his fingers and his son would come running on command. I often felt compelled to do the same. That is how big of a presence he made.
I learned quickly that his domineering presence was not a reflection of his gentle loving heart. This big booming jolly man fought through kidney disease while never losing the twinkle in his eyes.
He became a welcomed "parent" in my world quickly.
When I graduated college, his alma mater, he made the 5 hour trip to see my commencement. By this time he was walking with a cane and limp and I know this trip was rough, but he was there.
I received news this week that Bill's body finally gave up it's fight of 17 years with kidney disease. What an amazing addition he is to the choirs of Heaven!
Bill was gifted 66 years and I honestly believe he wasted none! He gave, he loved, he shared, he encouraged, he supported. Pieces of him are reflecting in the lives of others because of the way he lived.
Naturally, when I hear of a death it causes me to pause.
When my life train gets involuntarily derailed and my inner demons taunt my worth, I often find myself reflecting on what will be said when I die.
In reality we are every day writing our own obituary. Not that our decisions should be based on what we want others to say when we die, but that our choices should reflect who we truly are and the legacy we want to leave.
Back in March 2008 I wrote the following in my journal: "Lately I have thought a lot about my life and I try to think what I want my obit to say. I feel it is insignificant to list my professional accomplishments, but I hope it says: on my tombstone- Now Dancing with Jesus, not resting in peace!; in my obit- full of love, life and compassion, shared a glimpse of Jesus with others through actions, mom that made us all feel like we were her favorite, wife who stood by me and loved me unconditionally, a true friend who enlarged others, Jesus lover and prayer warrior. Thinking of these things make me TRY to evaluate how I act each day. Oh I fail a lot- but I'm trying."
I am not sure what caused me to write this years ago, but much of it still rings true today.
It is all too easy to get bogged down in a job we don't want to do, or stuck in a place we don't want to live, or a trapped in a life we are not living. Because...well, we all think we have time.
In the future, I will..... we all say. We place core components of who we are on the back burner playing a twisted game of Russian roulette with time.
Why? Do you know your expiration date?
There are no guarantees in this life but this one...we are all going to leave this earth some day.
I don't know about you, but the sad solemn typical farewell service is not what I want. I want my leopard colored coffin (although I am debating being cremated and put in a bottle and thrown in the ocean to travel the world with a note to call when you find me to let others know where I am partying) to be surrounded with my friends who are dancing and alive. Who have tucked a part of me in the corner of their hearts to spur them on to keep living.
Too often we wake up too late. Too often we let fear hold us back. Too often we lose our enthusiasm for life.
"If you had permission to do what you really want to do, what would you do? Don't ask how, that will cut your desire off at the knees. How is never the right question, how is a faithless question. It means unless I can see my way clearly, I won't believe it; I won't venture forth."
Our world has advance so much that we are crippled. When prairie people hitched up their wagon to venture to a new land, they didn't check their GPS to make sure there were no accidents to avoid or bad weather to hinder their journey.
They saddled up and rode forward.
There are several people I am thinking of right now who have shared that they wish certain things for their life. I believe that these are true desires of who they are and the life they were meant to live.
And I pray everyday that their obituary doesn't stay unwritten.