A couple weeks ago, my sister and I had the opportunity to sit in on an awards program for a business association that took the time to honor my dad, Jimmie L. Goodwin Sr. He was the initial president of the association, and a "founding father" so to speak as he helped to build the foundational principles on which the association was able to thrive and celebrate, as of last night, its 10 year anniversary.
I know that my father would have loved to have been there to celebrate that event. To be in an environment where he could be around people, discussing business, and dreaming of a better future was right up his alley and a testament to who he was. In his absence, however, it was a night in which we were there to receive recognition on his behalf. The plan of the association was to honor us with a plaque, but due to some petty oversight, there was no plaque there for us to receive. I wasn't offended that we didn't receive a physical award, that night, particularly when it dawned on me what we did receive. All night long, as speaker after speaker, came to the podium they shared a brief, yet awkward, story about my dad. There were moments in the program when we were able to shake hands with people that had nothing but positive things to say about a man that left an invaluable impression upon them during his life. At the end of the night, I realized that I had received something that was better than any plaque, trophy, or physical recognition they could have given us. My sister and I were witnesses of something much more important, something much more special, its what remains after a man leaves this earth.I contend that a true measure of a man is whats remaining after he dies. Its the legacy that you leave, its what people have to say about you and the memories they hold on to long after you're gone.
These people spoke of how's he was a "self-starter", how he ignited dreams and supported them along the way to get there business where it is today. How the man they once knew, wasn't a quitter, didn't take to kindly to the word "no", and how invaluable his persistence and consistence meant to them. Even my cousin reminded me, recently, of a time when my father would hold family meetings with the entire family. He had everyone in our family write down a vision for their lives and how they planned to get there. He reminded me of some of the positive things that resulted from those meetings. During that time my mom got her Real Estate broker's license after taking the necessary courses and passing the Broker's exam. Another cousin, was given an opportunity to get into college and not only received a degree, but was awarded a basketball scholarship his entire time there. And I'm reminded how he wouldn't allow me to quit or take a break during my college tenure because he wanted to make sure that I finished and got my degree. I am thankful for the day he got a chance to see me walk across the stage 3.5 years later.
Jimmie Goodwin, left an invaluable impression on people as he lived his life. And by no means, am I saying that he was perfect, but to be able to speak positively about the character of a man amid his faults is astonishing. It reminds me of a verse in a song called "Before I Die" by Derek Minor. There is a portion of a verse that reads:
And maybe before my last breath
You will see a man that finished the race and ran hard until his last step
Whether it’s cash left
I know my seed will be the branches of a tree of a legacy that their dad left
And let that legacy be rooted in the cross
I'm so thankful that my father ran his life as hard as he did. That he loved God, loved people, loved success and, more importantly, he loved to see that success lived in the lives of people. I'm honored to be apart of that legacy and honored even more to share some of those same passions. In addition to his children and siblings, the branches of his legacy extend far beyond his immediate lineage and into those fellow businessman, clergy, and customers. And to the best that he knew how, he lived a life that he thought was pleasing to God. Rarely does a day go by that I'm not appreciative of the deposit that was left with me to love God with all my heart. Heaven only knows, where I'd be if it wasn't for the foundation of Christ in my life. Although, his stubborn approach to want the best for those around him, wasn't always appreciated during his life, it has been commemorated in his death.
I am a king and these are my thoughts.....