We raced home from a trip to Minneapolis where we were to learn more about travel options in the Twin Cities. Casey Kluver from Meet Minneapolis did a great job showing us lots of fun and interesting things to do, and we can't wait to take you.
On the way home we listend to the PGA Championship on the radio. The winner Jason Day received the Wanamaker Trophy. I've been seeing pictures of Iowan Zac Johnson and the Claret Jug he won recently in the British Open. Last year my son and I had our pictures taken with the trophy for the US Open. I've been thinking about trophies.
I have this trophy. I know you’ll be impressed when I tell you that I was the leading hitter of the entire Sioux Center 7th grade baseball league. At the time I thought it was the pinnacle of achievement. I was surprised years later when my wife seemed unimpressed and my boy’s didn’t seem to care. Reflecting back, I’m pretty sure no one but me ever gave it a second thought after leaving the ballpark that day.
I’m not always a fast learner so when I started my career I hung my professional license on the wall. Over the years I added many plaques and awards of various kinds. After 4 or 5 office moves I realized no one was sitting in my offices reading over my accomplishments. I decided to declutter and clean house. If I served on your Board, or you recognized me with an award, Thanks! I still have fond memories of that and hope you do too. I don’t need a plaque to remember that.
When my Dad’s health started to decline we had to make 4 moves in a 12 months; first out of their house to independent living, then to assisted living, followed by the nursing home, and finally to the cemetery.
With each move it was difficult for Dad to part with the possessions, memories, and awards acquired over a lifetime. Particularly difficult were some of his awards. In the end, about all that was left was his small metal army foot locker.
Inside his locker are his uniforms, a few newspaper clippings, and other mementos. Deep inside I did find one award that I’m sure will stand the test of time. It was a picture of him at the ground breaking of Inspiration Hills Retreat Camp. Dad was the founding President, and I know many lives were changed in that place.
As I reflected on Dad’s life I remembered being a little jealous of all the people he adopted. It seemed like there was always someone at our door. Sunday school kids or youth group kids who had nowhere to turn with problems at home, addiction, or guilt. There were nieces, nephews, or other family members who needed help with life’s problems. There were people who needed money or needed advice on to how handle money. There were Pastors embroiled in controversy that just needed a friend and some good advice.
Few people knew that about Dad. He didn’t talk about it. Most people had an image of him, who he was, what his gifts were, what his attributes both positive and negative were. Many people liked and respected him. I’m guessing there were some who did not.
Like all of us, Dad so wanted to be remembered for his plaques, his achievements in business and this world. All those trophies are gone. I’m so happy Dad filled his chest by being a good father; one who put Christ at the center of his family. I’m so glad he used his gifts to be a leader in the church and so many people who needed him in a variety of ways. I’m so glad Dad filled his mantle with eternal trophies.
When my boys go through those couple of boxes in the basement and throw out all the newspaper clippings my mom and wife collected on my behalf, when they stumble across a small broken baseball trophy and wonder what that’s about, I hope they’ll find a few eternal trophies in there.
1 Corinthians 9:24-26
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.