I am sitting on a plane, returning from, literally, a once in a lifetime experience. I had the privilege several days ago to celebrate Rob Partin Sr.’s life with his family, extended family, and hundred’s of dear friends. The outpouring of love and affection towards Rob and his family was humbling, encouraging, and as I sit here on the plane reflecting on my time in Louisville, I would add overwhelming to the emotions that surge through me in a sort of quiet peace and solemnness.
In 4 days, I have learned so much. I have gained so much, but I am grateful most that I think I have changed so much through friendship and through observing life behind the ugly curtain of cancer, which was only ever a sheer cloth barely tacked up over the Partin lives. There is little “normal” about the way in which this family does life, which is what made the special tribute in death so brutal and beautiful to bear witness to.
Though I knew Rob Partin Sr., only peripherally, I always knew I was in the presence of someone great. Someone, kind, gentle in spirit, someone who knew Jesus and exemplified him in every hug, embrace, thoughtful word, gesture and smile. In the Dominican he served with passion and fun. At his funeral, this was never more evident as person after person paid tribute and gave testimonies of Christ in Rob.
I believe, so much more now, in the importance of ingesting these beautiful experiences we are allowed to partake in, to learn from them, to carry on pieces of the legacies left behind by The Great’s… to be different. Rob Partin Sr. was one of The Great’s. The most profound attribute of Rob’s that I am taking home to the DR with me, is this: Rob was a man who encouraged others. It appeared as if he never wasted an opportunity to admonish a brother or sister, in genuine love. He didn’t blow smoke, he observed and he encouraged. He did this with his family (almost each family member read a portion of a letter they had received from Rob encouraging and admonishing them and thanking them for what he had learned through their faith and their lives. I am sure it was hard for them to choose which letter to read, because he took time to do this throughout the years), and it didn’t stop with his family. He just embodied Jesus, and took opportunities to be with people. I think he knew what was important in life.
I never heard anyone from the family say “I wish I could have… I wish we had said…” There were no regrets, because this man lived a life on purpose. He did not waste it or come to the end of life with a list of shoulda, coulda, woulda’s… Oh that we would all live a life on purpose in this way.
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
The NLT puts it’s this way “Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
And the Message says it this way “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
Oh that our lives would be ones that seek first His glory and Righteousness.
Oh that our lives would be spent telling others the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Lives encouraging and spurring one another on towards Gospel Christ-like living.
Lives responding to God’s giving and not being so preoccupied on “getting.”
I want to not waste “it.” I want to live on purpose.
I want to take time to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.
I want no records of wrongs and no regrets at the end, whenever “the end” may come.
Jesus calls us to each and every one of these things- they are possible with his Spirit living inside of us.
As one man’s life, here on Earth has come to a close, I find myself invigorated and filled with a new passion and zest for living in the ever-present moment of today. For that, I am thankful. Thank you Jesus for the gift of these last four days. Thank you that your legacy lives on through one man’s life, through his family reaching and touching lives everyday.
Thank you God that you speak to us still, through the wind and the trees, in life and in death, in worship and plane rides, and every day life and friendship and your Holy, Spirit filled Word.
Thank you Partin Family, for pulling the curtain back and allowing us to see the beautiful and brutal moments and truths of living life to it’s fullest in spite of an ugly, life taking cancer. Thank you Jennifer for your honesty, your tenderness, your humor, your humility, (and let’s be honest for sharing that Derby Pie at 11pm… my pants are a bit tighter on this airplane ride, thank you very much! J). You are a beautiful woman whom I admire deeply and am always greatly encouraged no matter the length or depth of the conversation.
Will and Audrey, there are no words for the gratefulness our family feels to be able to “do life” with your family. We are spurred on and challenged in all the right ways by our friendship and closeness with you both. Today I am solemnly thankful that we have each other to celebrate and mourn life’s moments with.
Here’s to living life on purpose.