Monday, March 28, 2011

The Measure of a Man's Life

What defines a man's life?  Is it the titles he holds, the wealth he accumulates or some other symbol of status that his contemporaries hold in high esteem?  Sometimes, but in the final measure of a man we find more than that.  As I remember my Grandfather, Dale Hill, I think that the measure of a man is in the legacy he leaves behind in family, friends and the good he has done for others.

A man's life contains so many events and experiences that it is impossible to compile into a few paragraphs or even an entire book the total of what made the man and what he contributed to his community.  In the case of my Grandpa he grew up in rural Oklahoma in the 1930s while the events that inspired the Grapes of Wrath were unfolding all across the state.  He served in the Navy Seabees in the South Pacific during World War II where he contracted malaria and suffered from appendicitis but always maintained that he didn't want any recognition for this service because so many gave so much more.  He returned from the war and started a family.  He worked hard to provide for his family but eventually found time to help start a church in Fort Gibson and begin missionary work in Mexico and Haiti.  His work in Haiti has transcended his own efforts because he had a firm belief in what could be accomplished there.

A man's life is measured by the mark he leaves on the time in which he lives.  If he leaves the people he influences better off for having known him then his presence has improved the lot of mankind.  So his measure can only really be made by those who knew him and who were effected by his presence.  While he never achieved fame or recognition beyond his own community the impact he had on those who knew him was profound.  I hope to live up to the measure that my Grandpa set.  If I can do that I know that I will the the world a better place than I found it.

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