Last week during a 1400-mile
road trip I received a rare blessing, impacting me for eternity. I met an octogenarian man who chooses to live
his destiny laying down his life for others, mostly his family, neighbors and
friends. In the brief hours that I spent with him, I asked questions, listened
and took photos as he shared cherished remnants of his life story. His weathered face and strong gnarled hands spoke
volumes. The single focus of his life is his family including his wife,
children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, siblings, extended family, etc.
As I photographed the Redwood tree that he
planted when he was a young boy of 10, I wondered who had deeper roots in the
land, the man or the tree. The warm
California sun warmed our backs as we walked through the barns, fields,
vineyards, and feeding pens. He humbly shared his story that he wanted to build
a legacy for his family; a legacy that began over 60 years ago with countless 16-hour
days and long weekends. Laying down his life was just normal everyday living as
he worked hard to acquire the 100-acre farm.
Tom Brokaw wrote that his
generation was “The Greatest Generation.” Through set-backs, changes in
government, extreme personal losses and other unexpected storms he remained
true to his vision, building his dream one day at a time. He is a rare
visionary, looking out for the future generations, preparing a place for them.
He believes in God, America, family and in fighting for the preservation of his
divine encounter redefined words such as tenacious strength, foundational stability,
loyalty, purposed perseverance, commitment, honoring love, faith, unity and
I am so grateful to have met
him this side of heaven. Rarely do I meet someone on earth who possesses the
internal and intrinsic DNA of Jesus. He did not talk about Jesus he lived like
Jesus, laying down his life for his family and friends...every single day.
“We know love by
this that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to
lay down our lives for the brethren (family)” (1 John 3:16,