Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Influences-II

He is 80 years old, and he still works six days a week. He is a voracious reader and learner. Even today, he is compiling a folder of "foreignisms" that he can use to broaden his vocabulary. He has an MBA from Harvard, but you would have to press him hard to learn that he shared classrooms with Warren Buffet. His knowledge and understanding of the Civil War is only surpassed by his knowledge and understanding of World War II, a war he volunteered to fight, a war that ended before he got his chance.

He very humbly believes in God.

He is the man who stepped into the footsteps of my father. His daughter became my wife.

A few years ago, he collapsed on a business trip and was rushed to the hospital. He was in a city four hours away when this happened, and we (my wife, her mom, and me) piled into a van to drive across our state to see him one last time before he died--or so that is what the doctors told us we would be doing. When we saw him that evening, he was in intensive care, dozens of tubes running in and out of him, some contraption doing his breathing for him. The doctors told us we would be lucky if we made it the night. When it was appropriate for me to do so, I went in to see him alone, to thank him for being my father, my chosen father. I may as well have been talking to a corpse.

A few minutes later, my wife and I offered heartfelt prayers to God to save him. I believe this was the purest prayer I have ever offered to God. Within moments, the doctors came to tell us he was reviving, within hours he was slowly regaining conciousness, and within days, the ICU medical staff was calling him the Miracle Man.

I am not attempting to draw theological conclusions from this--I am simply recounting facts, trying to recount them straight, and trying to indicate the influence of this wonderful man's life.