Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Ultimate Test of Character

informal: an odd, eccentric, or unusual person: he's quite a character.

Dad was a character, in the best sense of the word, of course. He wasn't really odd or eccentric, but he was quite a character. He loved to make people laugh and usually did not take himself to seriously. He had a fun, and very sarcastic, sense of humor. To hear him laugh again...

I remember a time when my Grandfather, who was definitely a character, got my Dad laughing so hard he was on the floor gasping for breath. His dad could do that to him, and my Dad could do that to me.

Dad was a bit quirky. He had a bunch of silly songs and funny sayings, ie. "Spam gravy ain't wavy" and the Dirty Bill song (ask me about it, I would be happy to sing it for you). He never liked to say things the right way either. This has caused some grief in my life as at the age of 37 I still say 'aminals' instead of 'animals'. And who sings the Mickey Mouse song spelling it m-i-k-c-e-y- m-o-s-o-e? That would be my Dad, he sure kept things interesting.

a person represented in a play, film, story, etc; role

Dad liked to play characters. He did some local amateur theater and always had roles in the church plays. He had an outstanding voice, deep and clear. One of his most memorable roles was in the play Pilgrims Progress. He played all the characters Christian ran into on the path to the city Beautiful. He was a cool giant!

Theater was fun for him, a hobby he never grew out of. As us girls got into theater in high-school, Dad joined right along. He built sets, ran the fly and cheered us on. He was the cool dad too, everyone loved him. He was like a kid himself and made us feel so loved spending time with us.

the combination of traits and qualities distinguishing the individual nature of a person or thing.

They say a person's true character comes out during the trials they face. Dad had character.

He was always loving, giving and hard working, but just in an average sort of way. The way of all of us sinners, sometimes good, and sometimes not so much. However, when Dad received his cancer diagnosis, his real character came out. To live well is a great accomplishment, to die well is an amazing blessing from God. God's character became reflected in my Dad.

Dad live his last year with purpose. When he was faced with a time limit on his life, he worked with diligence to accomplish the things he knew God had given him to do. He made sure Mom was taken care of, from the house and cars, to finances and support. List after list...he knew what had to be done. His character helped him have character. His ability to find humor in life, allowed him to find it in death also. This shocked some people, but those who knew him well, knew it was his character to laugh.

He died with contentment, with the thoughts of Job, should we accept good from the Lord and not bad? He never openly questioned why he had cancer, he never openly pitied himself. He just set his eyes on the prize of heaven and pressed on. He loved deeper, made every moment count, laughed more, hugged more, cared more. He showed no fear, only patience and purpose, sure of his salvation in Christ Jesus.

Dad's life was a beautiful picture of the changing power of the Holy Spirit, Dad's dying was an even more beautiful picture of the power of the Holy Spirit living inside him.

Romans 5:1-5 (personalized)
Therefore, since Steve has been justified through faith, he has peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom he has gained access by faith into this grace in which Steve now stands. And he boasts in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but he also glories in his sufferings, because he knows that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out into Steve's heart through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 

How to have character? Have hope...

Only Jesus living inside us can give us the hope, and the character, to live well and die well.


Auntie J said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad. I hope heaven has wifi.

I miss him a lot, too.

StampingJudy said...

Andrea, this is a wonderful tribute to your Dad.