Power in Simple Acts. (A reflection on my uncle's funeral)
I am finally back home. What can one say about this weekend. I am not really sure that anything I write will capture it completely. Yeah. I am pretty sure of that.
There was definitely a lot of mourning for me over the sudden and strange loss of my uncle. While I didn’t get to spend much time with him due to distance (Philly to Billings is quite a hike), I always loved and cherished the time we were together. And from hearing his friends tell stories of his generosity this weekend, I have been amazingly challenged by the example he set before us.
There were over 750 people at his memorial service on Saturday. That in itself is an amazing testimony of his influence.
One story one of his friends told during the sharing time described things perfectly…
He told of a time when he was at the paint store getting some supplies for a job he was doing. My Uncle was there as he usually was wearing he described as “nice clothes.” (My uncle had the biggest painting business in Billings and pretty much lived at that paint store, apparently even when he wasn’t on a job).
Well, his friend was needing some supplies and painting advice so he was there asking for an opinion. In the midst of his time there, my uncle asked him where he was working so he could come over and help out. The friend obviously told him not to worry about it and he just got the advice, what he needed and left the store.
Not too much later my uncle showed up at his this man’s house (in his nice clothes) and asked if he was still having trouble. After an affirmative and a few “you didn’t have to come over” kind of statements, he told him the problem. My uncle simply rolled up his sleeve, stuck his arm elbow deep into the five gallon paint bucket, pulled out the disconnected filter and said, “Here’s your problem. You need a clean filter or this thing will never work.” After helping get his friend squared away, he went on with his day.
This is a simple story. Is just one of the many, many simple acts kf kindness and generosity about my uncle that I heard this weekend. In his painting business, time and time again he hired guys who, by world’s standards, did not deserve a chance. Many times these men would respond with gratitude and hard work because someone had finally believed in them. Other times my uncle would find them repaying his generosity by selling his equipment for in the local classifieds (which explains why he would read that dumb thing cover to cover every week).
I learned something profound this weekend. The simple truth is this:
Sometimes most simple and seemingly minor acts can have the most profound and significant impact.
I’ll admit that I am a bit of a romantic. I still (and hopefully will always) carry around dreams of changing the world. Though, I think sometimes I forget that it is the little things that sometimes matter the most.
Perhaps I need to stop trying to find ways to be great and instead roll up my sleeves and find some five-gallon paint buckets to stick my arms into.
Most everyone has asked how the weekend was. Two words come to mind: