It's impossible to capture in these short paragraphs the essence, character and heart of the man I love and respect so deeply - my Dad - so I'll share here two of the important lessons I learned from my father.
Love God: Even though Dad was a very quiet, very humble and very private man, his deep love for God was profoundly evident. It is difficult to describe, but his faith in Jesus formed the very structure of his being. Our family began every Christmas morning with a full worship service led by the six families they birthed, then had an extended time of sharing where each child, grandchild, great-grandchild and everyone's spouses would share with "Grandmother and Grandfather" an update on their life and spiritual status. Dad concluded the service, and in recent years, his sharing was limited to this: "I want you to read your Bible. I want each of you to be reading your Bible." He used that special moment when he had everyone's attention (20-30 people gathered in one circle in their living room) to share what he knew would be most helpful for each of us.
Love people: Dad truly loved and enjoyed people. Our large family dining table held many friends over the years, friends who felt as welcome there as family members. He gave himself fully to scores of individual scouts and explorers throughout his scouting career, investing deeply into their lives and leading countless young men into manhood. After he retired from KSC, he volunteered nearly 20 years for Central Brevard Sharing Center, where his chosen type of service was driving the truck to pick up donations - so that he could interact personally with the work release prisoners who accompanied him. In his low-key way, "Mr. Dick" had an impact on their lives, too. And in our home -a wife he adored and 6 children and their spouses, children, step-children and so on, all loved with a bottomless, sacrificial, truly unconditional love. As I've spent these last days going through family pictures, I've noted how Dad was so happy surrounded by family, and how he and Mother are so often holding hands or tenderly relating.
My Dad truly fulfilled the instruction of his Lord Jesus: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.
WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. YOU HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL.... ENTER INTO YOUR MASTER'S REST.