Many folks who read this know the man pictured above. Some do not, but may have heard of him. It's my brother in law, Rod Schuler, married to my sister, Michelle. On Saturday, March 22nd, 2014, Rod left this earth and went to heaven. Cancer wore out his body, but never his spirit or love for God.
Rod and Michelle raised 4 children in a home filled with laughter, support, and, love. Love for each other, and most importantly, love for God. That was never more evident than in Rod's final hours, and in the days that followed.
Out of respect for the family, those moments will remain the family's moments, but there were times when you just knew that God was there surrounding everyone with his love, power, grace, and mercy.
I felt His power many times, but never more so than when I had to play and sing at the funeral. Singing a new song, "Never Once" (one that I now love), and a song that I've sung three times now for dear friends funerals, "I Will Rise", it was a very emotional time of worship, but one that I was honored to share in. The experience was another reminder, and lesson learned, not to miss a moment because it may be difficult, or you have doubts that you can do it. You can do it because of the power that lives within you, not our power, but His.
Words really escape how to describe the emotions of losing someone so close, but Rod "fought the good fight and finished the race". The prize is now his. We are left to carry on and live like he taught us, and showed us during his good times, and the rough times. Through them all, he was a man of integrity, character, and faith.
Two more thoughts:
1) We experience moments in our life that bring us to our knees. We know our life will now be different. We live around those moments knowing that our priorities, focus, and energies should be different, and they may be for awhile. Our goal should be to make those life changing moments/experiences long term, and not just short term.
2) One of the things my sister said was so powerful and insightful. Of course, you can never be happy that cancer entered Rod's life, but Michelle said when talking about it, "but we wouldn't want to go back to the way we were before either". So powerful. Forward thinking.
The legacy of a man is not only evident in how he lives his life, but how those around him live theirs because of him. May our goal be to never go back to the way we were before either.
I Will Rise