On October 30, 2021, our sweet friend and neighbor, Ron Staley, was handed the keys to his mansion in Glory. He is survived by his wife Marsha, daughter Lynn, son Jim, 5 grandchildren, and sister. Plus his best little buddy, Jo-Jo.
I’m not sure how long it will be before I stop looking across the street to wave at Ron, expecting him to greet me with a big smile and thumbs up in return. I expect it to be quite some time, though.
During Ron’s memorial service this past Saturday, one of his nephews said when Ron watched his son and daughter, whom he coached, play tennis, if they missed a point, Ron reacted as if he missed the point. If they scored a point, Ron reacted as if he scored the point.
Referencing Psalm 23, he went on to say that’s what a good leader, a good shepherd, does. A good shepherd feels what we feel. He mourns when we mourn. He rejoices when we rejoice.
I liked that picture of a good parent. A good leader. A good shepherd. Ron wasn’t distant in his children’s lives. He was an active participant. Coaching them not only through tennis, but through life as well.
It’s the same with our relationship with our Heavenly Father, isn’t it? God is not a distant father. He is an active, hands-on, walk alongside us coach. A Father who wants us to do our best. In those times when we can’t return a shot and miss a point, God aches with us. In those times when we score the point and win the match, God celebrates with us.
Ron’s daughter shared some of the lessons she learned from her father. Here are a few of the things on Lynn’s list, to give you a brief glimpse of the man she called dad.
- Always give your best effort.
- Always have a Plan B.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove you wrong.
- Everyone is dealing with something.
- There are two sides to every story.
- Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
Although you may have heard most, if not all, of the above sayings before, I’m thinking you may not have heard this last one. “The bus isn’t leaving.” (Stop rushing.) I can almost hear Ron, in his Reading, Pennsylvania accent, say that.
And maybe, our Father in Heaven might say the same thing to us. Stop rushing through this life. The bus isn’t leaving quite yet. Pay attention to those around you. Lean in. Take time to listen to their stories. Lend a hand when you can. Ache when they ache. Celebrate when they celebrate. We’re all in this together.
As far as I know, Ron never said the following to Lynn, but it’s something my dad said to me, and I’d like to share it in this post. “Life’s too short to hold a grudge.”
Ron will be dearly missed by his family and all those who knew him. Pilot and I consider it a deep privilege to have called him friend.
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“Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me. There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly. And you know where I am going and how to get there.” John 14:1-4 (TLB)
You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.
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