Monday, July 12, 2010

To humble myself

When I look over these past few months, I know I have grown spiritually. I've taken giant steps forward while I took my baby steps in becoming a believer.
Does this mean I don't question Does this mean I don't become angry or, because I do. But I do not question the old questions from the past.

And why?
Most of those old questions opened old wounds. Those questions that brought back pain or sadness -I simply covered with a patched quilt. Each patch holding a memory or a thought- safely sewn into the fabric of my past. Like my favorite psychology class we were told to "talk about it" or "rehearse and review with clients/students". I was never good at rehearsing, but I can talk a good talk about it!

And now, every once in awhile when I see that old patch quilt in the corner of my mind- I may just question why something happened- asking why a young life was taken, or why did the couple loose their son and why hatred and suffering continues to blanket the world.
I don't clutch onto that dark thought as I have in the past. I try to see the world through the eyes of others- those who have walked in a spiritual journey their entire lives- or most of it.

One man comes to mind. His story or life journey is one that I have heard many times. I would learn something more about this kind gentle man when his story would surface in conversations. friends and family From his active roll in church to his active roll in packing every nook and cranny in the family station wagon for their 3 month stay at the beach- where the family business was located. His smile could melt your heart and his love for his wife and family spoke volumes. But it wasn't until I actually read his journal- his writings of years past and present that I listened.
*This story was not taken out of his writings~these are memories shared by family and friends.

1943 he was on a beach in Peleliu. He was only 23 years old. He was shot by a large machine gun bullet- the bullet penetrated his skull.
Collecting the dead, medics found him- assuming he was dead- as they plan to tag him- they notice this Marine is breathing. Still alive- just barely.
He is taken to a hospital ship placed in a ward with others who are severely wounded- expected to die.
He contracts malaria. He isn't expected to survive the massive skull injury- all odds are against him.

After months in the hospital- numerous operations- titanium plate is placed in the skull
skin graphs- physical therapy. He gains strength little at a time. He must learn to do everything all over again. A man once strong and healthy- a vibrant graduate of Harvard, not only fought in WW2- but now battled the enemies taking over his body.
Meningitis 7 times - losing one eye to cancer- hearing loss- later losing most of his sight in his "good eye". Forcing this independent man to now surrender it all.

Never once did this man question God as to why. Why was he given such a "bad deal" in the card game of life. When most people I know I would would become angry, depressed, feeling pain asking- why? Why me?
His passion for life never went unnoticed because of what and how he projected to others. He loved his life and people. He took nothing for granted.
He became a Sunday school teacher. A man who was modest - quietly proud of his faith.
He was comfortable within himself.

His son once told me how his father was an inspiration to others. But yet his father never looked at himself as such a man.
Confident - without boasting. confident

When I asked his son how would his father describe himself- his son smiles and tells me that his father never talked about himself...only others. His wife and their 5 sons.
His grandchildren and friends. His comrades.

His son tells me at the end of our discussion- "my father lived life pretty much the way it was intended to be lived". His love for God and his knowledge belief that God loved him unconditionally carried him through all of his struggles.
Life of course was not perfect for this father of five, husband, business owner.
He tackled business and financial issues and the physical road blocks that life throws at us- yet he traveled through his life with grace and dignity.

This man is known as Mr. Ice Cream. the original since 1912!
He was my father-in-law for 4 years.
It saddens me that I only had such a short time to be with him. China Doll and I knew the first time we met Mr. Ice Cream he was a real life teddy bear. One that you wanted to hug over and over again. His crooked smile would have you smiling no matter what happened or how you felt that day.
He loved to read. He would sneak down to his office and spend hours reading.
Hours- because unlike most, Mr. Ice Cream needed a special reading machine. What could take 5 minutes to read a letter would take him 30 minutes on this massive machine that enlarged the print of anything he wanted to read. Wall Street Journal, Penn State newspaper, NY Times

When I think of my father-in-law it is impossible not to smile, laugh and cry.
The month Football Superstar and I found out we were to be parents again, Mr. Ice Cream was recovering from a 3 month meningitis battle- one that placed him in a coma.
As he recovered in the hospital- we told him the good news.
There was that crooked smile. He beamed and congratulated us.
He then took over announcing the good news. I don't think there was a nurse, doctor or any hospital employee that did not know Mr. Ice Cream was going to be a grandfather- again!

Apple Cheeks was able to meet her Grandpa Ice Cream.
He could make her smile and giggle. He enjoyed every moment with his newest grandchild.

Mr. Ice Cream passed away 2008.

Thank you Mr. Ice Cream for inspiring me. ~ I love you.



  1. Thanks for sharing. This is like my father-in-law's story also. My husband was with him during a explosion that blew off part of his face. Broke his back twice and on and on. I never heard him ever complain. He taught Sunday School. He loved his God and his family. As I touch the age 50 I see what a legacy he left for us...he passed 15 years ago, before our fifth child.
    I have been reading biography's this summer...DL Moody, Anne Bradstreet...all inspirations. Their walk with the Lord and their struggles...not one of them had it easy. It gives me comfort in what we are going encourages me. I see that there is nothing I have experienced that others haven't before me.
    This encouraged me today...thanks for sharing,

  2. Janette~ thank you for sharing with me too!
    And thank you for posting the biography's you have been reading- I will certainly place those on my "to read" list!


  3. I'm crying - what a beautiful post! I wish I could have met Mr. Icecream - I think I would have loved him too! And I thank Janette for her wise comment - I needed to read this today.

  4. emily you would have loved Mr. Ice Cream!
    Thank you both for supporting my journey!


  5. What a life, what a man... and what a testimony.

    Truly it humbles me to read about Mr. Ice Cream. Did he really love Ice Cream?

    Your post gave me much to think about. I know I have reached a deep level in my spirituality, but after reading the story of Mr. Ice Cream, I asked God to make me humble like him...It can be such a subtle thing, but if I am honest, there is still a lot of self-focus and self-pride in what I do and say.

    You write beautifully... from the heart.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  6. Lidj,

    Thank you - your words mean a lot to me.
    Mr. Ice Cream {aka my father-in-law} did love his ice cream....but he also owned the family business~ Kohr's Custard later to be named Kohr's Ice Cream here in the states. New York/New Jersey beaches.
    But he certainly enjoyed a bowl of ice cream after dinner!