Friday, December 16, 2011
To Honor His Memory...His Legacy...His Family
I wanted to write something prolific, something memorable, something that would honor the memory of Kenneth Parfitt on this day. The one year anniversary of his death. I'm not certain I will succeed.
On December 14, 2010, Ken was on his way to work when he stopped to help another motorist who had run off the icy road. When sure that the person was ok, Ken headed back to his car. Just as he was getting ready to get in his vehicle and drive off to another day at the office, he was hit by another passing automobile. Ken never again opened his eyes. The last thing he did was something he did on a daily basis...he helped someone. He cared for a stranger. He was an example to his son who was with him that morning.
I have wracked my brain this week for just the right words for this anniversary. Do we re-tell the story of that day? For that, no one has put it into words more clearly, more tenderly than the man who stopped to help Ken that morning. Do I list the various ways Ken and his family have been honored this past year? That doesn't seem fitting. Do I put into writing how I continue to grieve and pray for his family? Impossible.
All I can think to do is ask a question. While Ken has left a hole in his family that no one will ever be able to fill, should there still be a void in this world now that he has left it? The tracts in Ken's pocket that morning fell on the muddy floor of the ambulance. Have we picked them up and handed them out to the strangers we pass? There were people who knew to call Ken when they needed help. Do they now know that one of us is willing to help in their time of need? A family is moving...are we willing to drop what we are doing to help them? Ken is no longer able to do that. A missionary has a project that is at a stand-still due to insufficient funds. Are we writing the check Ken would have written? A child of God has left the fold and is checking out the pleasures of this world. Do we write their name daily in our prayer journal? Do we have a prayer journal? Ken did. Who is praying for those people now? The Bible studies that Ken led at Harris...do they still exist or are disciples struggling?
Ken is gone. If we do not pick up where Ken left off, a missionary could be left discouraged and broken. A single mom may get deeper in debt having to replace her old, broken-down dryer. A wayward teenager may never know he is loved. A soul may go to hell.
365 days ago, Ken Parfitt went to heaven. His race on earth was done. We miss him...his smile, his sense of humor, his brilliance. We grieve for his family. But, have we picked up his baton or have we left it lying on the ground in our grief? Have we filled in the gap that he left or have we left it wide open as we uselessly stand by and weep for what is lost?
Ken Parfitt made a difference in this world, but this world ought not be a different place without him. If we want to honor his memory, we must carry on and follow his example. We must not allow the void to remain.
Miss Ken. Grieve for his family...while you go and serve and give and love the stranger by the side of the road.