Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A Birthday Reflection And Message For My Father-In-Law

A little note for Jamie's Dad on his birthday...which happens to be the same day as MY dad's birthday!


I am so tremendously grateful that over the last eight years, we have begun building memories.  I feel privileged to enter into this most recent chapter of the story of Leslie Ivan Reaser. Over these last few years you have become a friend, a father, a teacher, an example, and a brother to me, and I know that you have spent a lifetime serving in these capacities for many others.

I remember very clearly the November day in 2008 I drove to Lake Floyd, following Jamie home during Thanksgiving break, to have the conversation with you and Kim and to humbly ask your permission to date Jamie. After I asked, you shared with me wise and succinct series of words that have stuck with me to this day. Well, the way I see it, if the Lord is in it, there’s nothing I could do to stop it, and if He isn’t, well this will not amount to anything anyway. I appreciate you teaching me and even more, for taking your own step of faith and trusting me to court/date Jamie.

I also remember watching and learning from your example over the next few years. You would regularly go out of your way to help friends and neighbors around the lake, and even though the selfishness and lack of gratitude you would see in others might leave you frustrated, you would keep on serving, and teaching others to do the same. Going with you guys to serve on Christmas day by doing the jobs nobody really wanted to do, and doing them well comes to mind as well. I think those Christmas afternoons doing dishes had a strong impact on who Jamie has become, and they certainly have given me a more rounded understanding of exactly what we are celebrating on Christmas too!

And then, there was the second conversation. About a month before I asked Jamie to marry me, I asked your permission to ask her. Again, our conversation sticks out so clearly in my mind because it had all of the color, humor, and sincerity of the family we were becoming. You wisely reminded me after granting permission that I should consider what might happen if she said no. Nobody bats a thousand you know. Every step of the way I have been hope-filled and faith-filled and yet prepared mentally in case things didn’t go as planned. Thank you for that wisdom.

I remember vividly the text telling me and my groomsmen that it was “Go time!” on the day of the wedding. I remember sharing tears in a sacred moment as you walked Jamie down the aisle and we officially became family. 

I remember road trips together through the years as well—like the time when Jamie swam a mile in the Chesapeake Bay and we all traveled out to support her! And then there was the time when we shared a car and a room for Cindy’s wedding, and we found an endless hill while running around Warrenton VA. Man I thought that hill would never end! We kept going right on up it and right through town though.

Alongside all of these memories, I also remember when you asked me to speak at your mom’s funeral. We have had many great conversations around the word of God and encouraged one another in our journey’s with Christ, but I remember how much you worked to make sure that everyone was taken care of during the day of your mother’s memorial—you rose early to begin preparations, and you continued to serve and care for others by returning the clubhouse to its original state. And, I still remember Doris’ smile and joy-filled laughter. And I hear that same joy when you and I share a laugh together. 

Not only do you inspire me with your resolute and tenacious faith and commitment to service, but also in your commitment to your physical well-being as well. You are diligently committed to logging, tracking, and improving your diet—I’m so glad My Fitness Pal has been working so well for you—you’ve got several years under your belt now! Your commitment to your physical fitness has inspired Jamie, myself, and many others to get after it in the early morning while most of the world is sleeping—but we are still not quite getting up as early as you do.

Thanks so much for helping so many of us to be better than we would be otherwise. As you journey into a new year, may you be blessed as much as you have blessed so many others with your presence and example! I'm truly grateful for you, and I love you lots!

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