“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” This quote is attributed to William Wallace who was a freedom fighter for Scotland and Ireland against England at the end of the 13th century. The line was famously delivered by Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart, and it was repeated by two different speakers at my cousin Jackie Greenhaw’s funeral last week leaving me with a lot to ponder.
Jackie was a great example of a man who really lived. At the visitation with the family and at his memorial service were people who had been touched by Jackie in the many phases of his life. As a high school quarterback, coach and teacher and then later as a consummate volunteer and organizer for causes bettering the lives of Athens and Limestone County citizens, his circle of influence was wide. He and his wife Helen made stunning dance partners. He was a deacon at First Baptist Church, where he was a LIFELONG member, and the entire Athens Rotary Club sat as a group in his honor for the service. The music minister made us all chuckle before leading a congregational hymn saying, “Rarely do you hear the words ‘deacon’ and ‘dancer’ used side by side.” Yet, with Jackie both were true titles. He was also a faithful husband for 52 years, a father to three bright, articulate and accomplished daughters and grandfather to three beautiful children.
Jackie was seven years older than I am. His mother and my grandmother were sisters. We shared hundreds of family occasions. For some reason, he called me “Conga.” I realize that the name sounds a little bit like Connie, but I think he teased me with that name because it was a dance he loved to do. It made both of us smile whenever he said it.
It will take a host of people to fill the shoes/titles he has left behind. What a model of living fully, meaningfully and unselfishly he demonstrated for us.
Not all of us can be dancers and influential civic leaders, but I believe the Bible is clear that we are ALL put on earth to live fully, to “really live.” In what areas could I be really living to a greater extent? Where can I be more generous with my time, personality and abilities? What causes could be promoted with my help? And, what about you? Are we taking too much back to the locker room rather than leaving it all on the playing field of our lives?
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. . .”