Yesterday I visited some really special friends. They are actually more than just friends. We’ve always viewed them as our American grandparents and they us as their African grandchildren. Our lives got intertwined in our three years of living in Colorado Springs. We worked together at a church.
When we just arrived in Colorado Springs I interned with Dallas and sat in all of his counseling sessions for 4 months. Dallas has a passion for helping people; especially through the passages of death and bereavement.
Now he is dying and his family is grieving.
Yesterday I sat with them.
We reconnected. Laughed and cried.
Kim, his daughter, told me the story of a chest.
Dallas loves renovating old trunks – or chests.
He would buy them cheaply and then restore them with the uttermost care.
Over the years he has worked on different chests and gave it as gifts to his kids and grandkids – we knew we were part of this family structure because he was working on one for us too.
Kim told me how in the last month or so her dad couldn’t restore anymore. So she took it upon her to finish the work her dad started. ‘When I was a little kid’, she told me, ‘My dad taught me how to use tools’. ‘Come with me and I’ll show you.’
We walked over to the chest and she showed me what her dad restored and where she took over the job. Inside of the chest she inserted one of his favorite paintings, also a picture of him sitting on his father’s lap. There is also a picture of a four year old Dallas standing on a chair and a handsome Dallas on his wedding day with his wife of fifty four years – Opal. Kim lovingly restored and embedded keepsakes into the treasure trunk.
And then she wrote a little tribute to her Dad.
The two of us were on our knees when she showed me.
She showed me with her hands, caressing it.
Then she looked at me and said, “My dad has done so much for me and I did so little for him”.
It struck me that all of us have this desire to show those close to us that we appreciate what they have done for us and that we wonder how we could ever repay them. It reminded me of the disciples and how they must have felt when Jesus left them. Then I remembered that Jesus told them “as you do it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me”.
Dallas left all of us with some tools in our hands, now we can continue his legacy by using those tools to do restorative work on the treasure chests of the world in a small way that is a way in which we can honor the saints that have gone before us.