Thursday, May 08, 2008

His children shall call him blessed...

I met Jane and Brad Tippet over ten years ago. They are wallpaper contractors and good at their trade. About nine years ago they lost their fourteen year old daughter Jessica to leukemia. Brad carved much of the lettering on a headstone that sits on the grave. They are Jesus-people. They are not traditional-church-going Christians, but show they know Jesus by the lives they lead.

Jane called me earlier in the week. Her 80 year old father died and the family needed a preacher for the memorial service. I had met Mr. Ferrell during the time of Jessica's death, but that had been some years ago. He was a man of faith, so I could always point to his Jesus and a reunion that will take place in the future, I just hoped that would be enough.

Early Wednesday morning I visited the house where Mr Ferrell had lived. Three of his children and a DIL and a SIL were there. As they began to tell me about their father, the picture became more and more clear. Mr Ferrell was a man who worked hard to make sure his family had what they needed. He had a huge sense of humor that caused the family to have fond memories of childhood. He loved his children, grand children and great grand children.Mr Ferrell was a devoted husband to his wife of 57 years until her death four years ago. His son Mark said his father did not teach him how to live or be a man by words, but he did it by his life.

I was surprised by the service. The kids were going to eulogize their father. I hoped they would not be overwhelmed by grief as they spoke.

Boy, was I about to go to school. Glenda, the second oldest daughter, told many of the funny stories of Mr. Ferrell. She told of a man who loved and laughed and taught the family to do the same. Jane, the youngest, read a letter she wrote to her father on Father's Day almost twenty years ago. Words twenty years old shouted of the faith, love, care and concern this man had for his children and family. Mark, the youngest son, sang a song in tribute to his father and said, "He was the greatest man I have ever known."

As you can imagine, after the children gave testimony to the greatness of their father, there was not much I could say. Their words were a honorary memorial to the life of this "common" man, a simple wallpaper hanger, a simple husband, a simple father, a simple grand father, a simple great grand father, a simple WWII vet, a simple Jesus man; who's impact will be seen for several generations to come.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post!