By Jane Biggs
As we approach middle age or beyond, many of us may often ponder life’s journey and where we may have truly contributed, “left our mark,” “helped our fellow man,” in this crazy world we live in. The question we often ask ourselves is, “Where did we make an impact?”
Well, the first person that comes to mind, as I ponder this question, is my Dad. I’d like to introduce you to him. He was a large, very grumpy, “rough around the edges,” 88 year old German with glass-blue eyes, amplified voice, ferocious sneeze, round plump face and a full head of snow white hair. He wasn’t the kind of man many people felt comfortable approaching, but children didn’t have a problem, they were much more forgiving. Even though he wasn’t a heavy drinker, he was given two beer names at birth, Killian Beck. He would inch along slowly stabilizing himself with uniquely carved wooden canes which he created himself. Dad loved wood working in his old tool shed. He worked for many years as an electronics technician for Rockwell International building engines for many space shuttle missions. He scooted around, hunched over with back pain due to a broken back he received in a major car accident back in the 70’s. He was plowed from behind by a drunk driver, in the early morning hours while driving to work, while praying. He struggled with arthritis pain in his back ever since.
Dad & Mom lived on the same plot of land they purchased back in ’62. Their home was tragically washed away by hurricane Katrina back in ’05. They rebuilt their home on the same lot, against all seven of their children’s wishes, as Dad pleaded, “You don’t understand, this place is OUR home!!” Years ago, he would often “freak my kids out” by placing his set of pearly-white dentures into his tall glass of heavily sweetened sun-tea or “tomato juice & celery salt filled” beer (a German thing!) at my dinner table. My kids would be absolutely in awe as he faked munching on the corn cob with his gums as I yelled, “Dad…P L E A S E…stop, that’s disgusting….it’s dinner time!” He would lean over and whisper to my kids, (purposely in my ear shot), “Just can’t have any fun ‘round here! Your Momma’s bossy!” AAAHHH! My Dad, you couldn’t live with him, but you couldn’t live without him………..
What does all this have to do with “impacting others” you ask? Well, I do remember one thing my Dad did throughout his life that impacted many people, he gave blood at our local Blood Center to people in need. A simple decision, a tiny prick and it’s over. I remember him leaving the house for his frequent extraction with his blue NASA jacket pulled over his shoulders. At first, I thought he was just going to the Blood Center for companionship with all the friendly nurses, but later I found out his trips had deeper meaning. He had a desire to help….someone….anyone in need….especially children, and he did. He didn’t get anything in return, just a Dixie cup full of grape juice and a vanilla cookie. In his lifetime, he donated a record of 350 pints of blood and had a beautiful article written about his donations by the local paper. He has many Blood Center t-shirts and a shiny plaque honoring his “giving.” Everyone at the Slidell, Louisiana Blood Center knew him. I’m really proud of my Dad and what he gave to society, his “fellow man,” and the many other things he gave and did for his family and friends not mentioned here.
God has given everyone the same amount of time in a given day, it’s what we do with our time that really matters, right? We don’t really know how many lives we impact by the choices we make, do we? But, God knows and always has a perfect plan. Often, it’s the simple things in life that produce the most impact. I’m sure the blood my Dad gave on a regular basis helped save the lives of many people; the person involved in that terrible car accident, the woman who needed a transfusion after her difficult childbirth, the baby girl who fell and split her forehead wide open on the new tile floor, the man suffering with leukemia who needed just one more pint…I can go on and on.
I just wanted to give a BIG shout-out to my Dad for a life-time of giving of himself. THANK YOU DAD!! I LOVE YOU!! Isn’t this what God wants us to do?
Since the writing of this blog, on September 19, 2014, my Dad passed on to be with the Lord. He would have been 90 years old this May 5th. This was written in his memory. Above is one of the last photos I have with Dad while assisting him last June in the hospital.