The Reality Of Life


This summer has been a particularly hard one for my family. The summer brought the passing of both my uncle and my grandfather. And while death is something that we could never get use to, it is in fact a reality of life.

I can recall of when I was younger, feeling a true sense of emptiness once I had been given the realization that everything that lives must die. If one positive can be deemed from this is that it gives us the impetus to make the best of the time we are given, while also preparing for the next life depending on your beliefs.

Uncle Sam was always very kind to me—in additional to making the best lasagna this side of the Mississippi. I can remember working with him the summer prior to going off to college. And although the actual process of setting up mobile homes across the state of Mississippi has never come in handy for me afterward, the added respect for hard work was worth more than its weight in gold. What I learned more than anything was exactly what type of work I did not want to do for the rest of my life, giving me a different perspective when looking at possible career options. Not to say that I would not—or could not—do that type of work, but it gave me a greater understanding of what I did not like. I immensely respect people who work outside, especially in extreme conditions, it cannot be easy.

Then there is my grandfather, whom I and my son share the same name. Whom we also called Big Dad, rather than granddad.

“Put that rock down. You better not throw that”, granddad shouted as I was having one of my particularly defiant moments. This being one of the few times I can remember being outright defiant toward my grandfather as a child—and obviously being absent minded of the consequences of disobeying a direct order. Rock thrown. Whipping followed. I can remember my grandfather saying he thought I’d be a handful when I got older. Thank goodness my path became much more straight and narrow than it began.

Then there were the great times we spent “hauling wood” for the winter with him, or going to his church for one of those “soul stirring” revivals. Things were not always perfect, but it was clear that love reigned supreme in our family.

There is no way these few words can give them justice, but I will miss both my uncle and grandfather. I will never forget the memories, guidance, faith, and love they showed. Talking a great game is one thing, but walking that walk is the greatest example you can give. Thank you.