It’s 1:10am right now and I’m sitting in a chair next to my father-in-law, Phil. He’s a great guy. Since the moment I met him, he left an impression on me that I’ll never forget. Forever the little guy but tough as nails, he never let his weaknesses get the better of him.
Around a year after I met the man, The doctors told him that he really needed to get a heart transplant because his heart was beating at such a low percentage that he wouldn’t survive long without one. He refused them. It wasn’t even a question in his mind, he was not getting a new heart no matter what anyone said. So, the doctors told him to get a pacemaker. He agreed to that, but only because the recovery time wasn’t that long. However, the doctors said that it wouldn’t help his heart any and that he needed to take it easy to prolong the life of his heart.
Anyone who knows Phil knows that for him to take it easy was to go against everything that makes him who he is. He continued to live his life as he always did, cutting down trees, mowing lawn, fixing whatever needed fixing, and anything else he dang well pleased. That is who Phil is. Then God healed him. Simple as that. He went in for another checkup and shocked the doctors. His heart was beating at a level it hadn’t in years. Even the doctors called it a miracle.
My father-in-law inspires me. He lives his life as he knows he should live it. He fixes things and he breaks things. He isn’t a perfect man by any stretch of the imagination, but he loves his family and his Savior. When the world told him to sit down and shut up, he probably just flipped the world off. Haha. That is what inspires me. He beat the odds. He did what he wasn’t supposed to do. He cares for people. And he’s a softy for his daughters.
One time when we were in L.A. as a family, we parked the car next to a homeless man who had set up his tent for the night. He told Phil that he’d look after the car for the family. Phil smiled and thanked the guy graciously. We met up with an old friend of my wife’s at a Subway and I completely forgot about the man. As we were all walking toward the door to leave, Phil turns around and heads back up to the counter. He orders a sandwich and then follows us out. When we get back tot he car, he “knocks” on the man’s tent, thanks him for watching the car, and then gives him the sandwich. I was humbled and almost brought to tears. Even now as I tell the story I’m in awe of Phil. I, someone who has spent his whole life as a Christian, didn’t even think to do what Phil did, what Jesus would have done. I saw such a clear reflection of my Savior in my father-in-law that day that it changed my life. He didn’t preach, but his life showed it.
It’s almost 1:30am and I’m sitting in a chair next to my father-in-law, Phil, and he is dying. By the time anyone else reads or hears these words, he will be with Jesus. He had a massive stroke three weeks ago and has lost all sense of the man I’ve known for almost five years. He is an amazing man that I love with all my heart. Thank you, Phil, for showing me how to live like Christ and for being the best father-in-law I could have ever asked for. I love you.