By Kizzy Katawonga, Uganda:
Over the last three weeks I’ve been at funeral services for parents gone too soon. It’s been hard watching the children left behind trying to understand why their parents were taken so swiftly when they had so much more living to do. As I’m oft to do at funeral services, I find myself lost in the lengthy tributes and praises said of the dead, pondering about what will be said about me when my time comes.
Ours is a culture that also believes in never speaking ill of the dead. Nothing bad ever gets said. No shocking revelations. They are in fact annoyingly predictable. However at the last one I attended a week ago, I was extremely moved by the resounding unity of testimony about the late husband and father.
Everyone shared with genuine and teary openness about a humble man who was brilliant, kind, loving, and full of faith. Testimony after testimony stretched the funeral service to over four hours. The late was a man of the cloth, an Anglican Reverend and firm follower of Christ. His colleagues all shared testimony of the consistency of this man’s life from boy to man. From his time in theology school to adulthood, he maintained the course of faithfulness and integrity.
His two sons spoke of a man who they could honestly call a role model, from whom they had both learned and witnessed daily, what it is to be a Godly man. They testified of how their mother was treated like a queen with their father laying down his life for her and by observing their marriage, they believed they knew how a man should love his wife well.
The testified of how he spent time with them, played with them, taught them, listened to them, disciplined them and shared his visible faith with them through heart-warming examples.
And his wife? Oh Lord I can’t even begin to recount the testimonies she confirmed and added of her late husband. When she stopped to take a moment to praise God and sincerely thank him for having given her such a man to be her husband for 25 years, my heart almost stopped with anguish at the revelation of what she has lost.
Never before have I seen or heard such a perfect example of manhood in my life. How I wished I could have been mentored by such a man. Not that he was perfect, God no. I’m sure he had issues like we all do. But despite these flaws his humility and love for people and God made those flaws fade to obscurity. I was especially moved by his sons' tribute. Oh that all men could speak thus of their fathers, living and departed. If only all men could leave such a rich legacy in their children, how different would the world we live in be today?
My single greatest hearts' desire is to leave such a legacy for my children. That when my time comes, I will have impacted them, their mother and everyone I ever interacted with so positively that the world changes on its very axis. It’s my hearts' desire to live a life that inspires and edifies and teaches other husbands and fathers to do the same; That my daughters can testify how they grew into confident women because of the edifying love and care that I gave them; That they would know what a good husband looks like because of what they have seen me do with their mother; That they can say they know God because they have seen my own faith walk with Him every day of my life; That men will say, we learnt how to be men, husbands, fathers, brothers, leaders because we watched and learned from the Apprentice; That people can say their lives were blessed because they knew me, partook of my kindness and generosity, that I listened without judging.
If that can be said of me when I die, then I will have not lived a life in vain but one of legacy.
“A good man leaves an inheritance [of moral stability and goodness] to his children’s children” Proverbs 13:22. What would you have it said of you?
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