Memorial Day is always a bittersweet time for us. Our oldest daughter died on May 27th, 2008. That date lands on Memorial Day every 28 years. It is a painful day of reflection. Shirley and I decided to take a little extra time this year to celebrate our grandson, Pete’s 8th grade graduation and enjoy our middle daughter’s family in Lafayette LA. Last year we lost a brother, nephew, cousin and more than the usual number of friends. At the cemetery dad and Paula are buried at, we would always celebrate the Mass, an ancient and cherished remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on Memorial day. This soldier has quietly and reverently stood behind the altar for as long as I can remember as another symbol that speaks to me of integrity. We won’t be there this year, but I’m sure that he will be.
My dad was my biggest hero. When he died in 1992, we left his office alone for quite some time as somewhat of a shrine. Eventually I moved into it and cleaned out his desk. He died totally unexpectedly and never had a chance to come back to the office after his heart attack. I found a half dozen bibles of different translations, all with his notes and thoughts written on almost every page. He also had a file folder marked “Bible Cleanings” which was stuffed with different notes from family and friends, cartoons, and things he liked and had stuffed in his bible. Dad enjoyed his kids and grandchildren, laughed a lot, and the feelings were reciprocated. He often quoted scripture with his own translation, and his favorite was James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy when you encounter trials of various kinds, because the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Actually, he had lots of favorites, so nothing was a surprise, except for one thing:
He had typed a specific scripture on green paper and laminated a bunch of them. They were hidden all through his office, tucked away in books, in drawers, different types of file folders, even tax documents and business information. I had never heard him quote it. These were just for him. It was also his gift to me. The scripture was Proverbs 20:7 “A righteous man walks in integrity; blessed are his children after him.” It is a special gift to be a child of a man of integrity. I think it was a reminder to him to walk in integrity.
Integrity is what we do when nobody’s watching. It is what we do in secret. It is what is in our hearts. It is doing what we know we should do. It causes a win for our customers, a win for our employees, a win for our vendors, a win for our business, and a win for our family, but mostly it brings pleasure to God. If we always try to bring God pleasure, all of the other things will just happen.