The Measure of a Man
What if a man lives his life full of purpose, reason, and love?
He makes it through childhood, the teenage years, and young adulthood honoring his parents, serving his country, and with loyal friendships still intact.
He carries these tenets of honor, service and loyalty as he falls in love and makes a family; joining her children with theirs.
He takes fatherhood seriously and works hard to build a home, hold down a good job, and then they form a business of their own.
He serves his community as a firefighter; 24/7, one emergency call at a time, for 30 years.
He remains conscientious, believes in hard work and big dreams, he has friends from every walk of life; for he is no judge of others.
He is quick with a joke or a prank, which surprises those who are fooled by the grumbly, growly side of him.
He appreciates beauty, whether in nature or man-made. He is an inventor, thinker, builder and mechanic.
He thinks 5 steps ahead of the game; always planning the next move cautiously.
He grieves deeply his losses; viscerally shaken by the pain of losing his wife, the mother of his children. Though he will carry this pain to his own death, after a time, he rallies his forces to continue on the way.
He is set in his ways and has something in common with mules, though love can bend him her way if she tries.
He forms a new love, which quickly becomes an unbreakable bond.
He spends several years living, loving, and laughing with his new love; they have grand babies together! They make dreamy plans to retire on the Snake River and ride their jet boat!
What if they spend a year fighting for his life? They spend precious moments beach combing, laughing, crying and adjusting their plans for his illness, then for his recovery; and also hazily planning for the worst, while stridently hoping for the best.
Then the day still comes when the doctors tell them that nothing more can be done to save his life.
All she asks is one more miracle—he’s been tossing them around all year long—just one more, please.
During his last weeks, tucked into their own bed, we hear story after story about how his courage and strength this past year has changed so many lives.
What if a man lives his life, and even his dying, full of purpose, reason and love?
Shouldn’t he then be called, not perfect, but a king among men?
Poem written July 2009,