Last Saturday I attended the funeral of Julius McDufffie. Mr. McDuffie is my son-in-law’s grandfather. So all that I knew up until Saturday about Mr. McDuffie, I knew through my son-in-law and his family.
Mr. McDuffie died at 78, after dealing with cancer. As I was sitting there listening at the funeral, I heard more than once, him referred to as an “ordinary man.”
I thought, “how odd and yet, how appropriate.” Here is a simple man who didn’t call attention to himself, just quietly went about living his life, day after day after day. He wasn’t on the front page for a scandal, didn’t steal any corporate money; just managed in his 78 years, to fall in love with God consistently throughout his adult life, fight in a war defending this country and her values, find and marry a great woman, stay with her over 56 years, have three boys, raise them successfully, keep them out of prison, teach them to know God and to love God. These boys are married. They all have families that are good, honest, decent, God-fearing people. He only stayed a member of the same church for 44 years, a church that I happen to know went through a lot of turmoil during those years. And yet Mr. McDuffie stayed, taught Sunday School, and for over 40 years was a chairman of the ushers of that very large church.
I could go on. Maybe you’re bored. But here’s my point. What’s ordinary about any of those achievements? To me they are extraordinary because they are rare. To me you don’t see people staying with the same woman for 56 years. You don’t see a man having three distinct careers in which the number one achievement was being faithful in all the demands that were made of him.
Ok, I know I’m preaching, but here’s my point. I want to be an ordinary man like Julius McDuffie. Not a superstar, not a hero, not a rock star, not an ex-football player, or a washed-up surgeon. I want to be a good man and when I die, I want the world to cry, if even for a brief moment. Don’t you? Remember this: an extraordinary life is lived in ordinary moments, seizing those ordinary moments and out of them creating something amazing.
Thank you, Mr. McDuffie. I am a better man for having known you.