Wednesday, September 13, 2006


(This is what I shared at my Dad's funeral last Friday, 9/8/06 - not really a eulogy, just a few short words)


One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen writes,
When we lose a dear friend, someone we have loved deeply, we are left with a grief that can paralyze us emotionally for a long time. People we love become part of us. Our thinking, feeling and acting are codetermined by them: Our fathers, our mothers, our husbands, our wives, our lovers, our children, our friends … they are all living in our hearts. When they die a part of us has to die too. That is what grief is about: It is that slow and painful departure of someone who has become an intimate part of us. When Christmas, the new year, a birthday or anniversary comes, we feel deeply the absence of our beloved companion. We sometimes have to live at least a whole year before our hearts have fully said good-bye and the pain of our grief recedes. But as we let go of them they become part of our "members" and as we "re-member" them, they become our guides on our spiritual journey. (source unknown)

We are here today to remember my Dad, Bob Holman. What does it mean for us to "remember"? How can we best honor my Dad’s memory and comfort one another? One way of remembering is to re-experience what is in the past so that it can give strength and focus for life in the present. God has so crafted our minds and hearts that we can recall past persons, events and places in powerful ways that affect how we live in the present, even to the point of re-engaging our senses by the sights, smells and feelings from the past.

The best way I can think of to remember Dad’s life is to remember the great loves of his life; the focus of his desire and delight that drove him and gave him purpose and a passion to live. What Dad loved formed the context for how he lived his daily life. Many of us here had the course of our lives changed by coming into contact with Dad as he pursued one of his passions.

Some of the things Dad loved were: basketball, football, bird-watching, and rabbits named Roger and Olivia. Dad loved the beauties and wonders of God’s creation, often in the beautiful Seattle horizon or in the dusty wonder of Central Oregon. He loved to laugh. He had a laugh that would rise from his gut and be so loud that it would make me jump. He had a passion for helping people realize their full potential in business and in life. He had a passion for us, his sons, and our children. My Dad’s passing hit my oldest daughter Anna Beth particularly hard. She was inconsolable when I told her of Dad’s passing. She told me, "I loved him like you love me, Daddy."

He had a great love for you, Colleen. One of the greatest gifts you and Dad ever gave us was to let us in on the secret of your great love for each other, put on display especially during the years Dad was sick. Thank you for loving him so powerfully, consistently and faithfully.

One of the great ways to see what and how a person loves is to learn about how they pray. Before he went into the hospital, my Dad and I were talking about prayer. He said how he liked to just sit in his favorite living room chair and be quiet and pray. We had never talked about such things before, so I asked a simple question, "Dad, what do you pray about?" He said, "I pray that God would give me the strength and courage to face whatever comes." He added, "I want you to be proud of me, Scott." I replied, "I am, Dad."

I am indeed. The strength and courage that my Dad displayed is a testimony that his (and our) prayers were answered.

I have great comfort in knowing that my Dad did not cease to exist, but is conscious and present in the company of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus promised, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 NIV).

Dad had a great life. At the end though, he wasn’t trusting in the greatness of his life or the accomplishments he had achieved; he was trusting in the greatness of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ.

I close with more of Nouwen’s words:
As we grow older we have more and more people to remember, people who have died before us. It is very important to remember those who have loved us and those we have loved. Remembering them means letting their spirits inspire us in our daily lives. They can become part of our spiritual communities and gently help us as we make decisions on our journeys. Parents, spouses, children, and friends can become true spiritual companions after they have died. Sometimes they can become even more intimate to us after death than when they were with us in life. Remembering the dead is choosing their ongoing companionship. (source unknown)

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