Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Final Chapter?????

I came across a post on the Viral Myocarditis Facebook page from a grieving mother who lost her adult son 3 months after his marriage. The comment she shared from was from her sons wedding dance when she was on the dance floor with him, and she said to him " DON'T LET OUR STORY END... I know everything about your life since before you were born and it is the most beautiful story.". Three and a half months later the story for this mother did end. As with many new people we have encountered since Stephens's passing we all have a story that ended way too soon.
This got me thinking about our own lives as well as our friends and loved ones. Our lives are really a story told over many chapters. Some books are long and some are not and really don't have a finish. When you lose a child it is like the book you are reading just ends. Imagine reading the latest John Grisham legal thriller and you get to the part where the story is laid out, you know the plot, you know all the characters, and just when you get the jury verdict and your turn to the next page in the book and it is blank! You keep tuning and all the following pages are blank as well. Darn, you don't know how the story ends.
I tried to apply this to Stephens life and yes Darla and I knew the first 20 chapters of his life and some would say the story ended indeed but I would disagree. The first 20 chapters were really quite good. There was plenty of drama, plenty of successes, plenty of failures, some tears, and plenty of laughs. I really don't want the story to end, so instead of Stephen writing the next chapters of his life the task is left to all of us to fill in the blank pages.
Stephen touched more lives than we will ever know, and his influence is still being felt as I write this. You don't know how much this means to our family that he is not forgotten and as time marches on and Stephen's memory fades a bit we will continue to write chapters in his book. At this point I have no idea how the story ends as we are still writing it. We thank all of you who continue to submit work to the book as well. Each of your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement, support of Stephen Reynolds Foundation events, and all of the random acts of kindness help make work on Stephen's book possible.
It is a great story. and Stephen still touches people's lives to this day. Our past 4 scholarship winners are going off to school for another year of college. I know they will go on to do many great things in this world, and will live each day Renny's Way!
I will keep this top of mind as move forward realizing as a parent you are very present for the first few chapters of your children's lives but as you get deeper in the book it is all about them as they make their mark on this world and it does not seem to matter if they are present physically on this earth or spiritually the words continue to get put on the page and the story continues.

Living Renny's Way!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Are you living Renny's Way?

This is a question I have been pondering for some time now. I have been asking the man in the mirror this question. This is really a simple yes or no answer, there is not much room on either side of either answer. It reminds me when my parents asked me a question about where I might have been the night before, a question like were you at a party? The answer is yes or no, but it always fell into some form of ambiguity. So back to the question, are you living Renny's Way? I would like to answer this question with a hearty YES, Of Course I am! But I can honestly say, "most of the time"! I think the majority of people probably would answer the question in the same way, and I marvel at the ones that can honestly answer the question Yes! (You know who you are)
I have tried to live my life by serving others, which has not come naturally for me since I am an only child. I am told that I am spoiled and selfish and I always have to get my own way! I say well, duh! Seriously, I look at what I have left to my kids (excluding a sharp tongue and sarcasm) I am confident that they are more tolerant than me. Being raised in a typical home in the 60's at the end of the baby boom, by a veteran of World War II there was racism, and intolerance around me. It was nothing mean spirited but it was the way it was growing up during that time. Darla and I always stressed to our kids to judge others by who they are and not the color of their skin, what church they go to, and many other classes we compartmentalize others in. Look beyond the surface and look at their soul, and judge by that and nothing else. Offer a helping hand when you can. This was evident to our family at Stephens passing as we were overwhelmed by the love and support of not only this community but from almost every corner of the country.
I look at living Renny's way as getting yourself prepared for the end. Cleaning up any messes that you have made, mend any fences that need tending too. Life is to short to hold on to grudges, look at things from the other point of view. If the fence cannot be mended at least you can say that you tried.
I am going to continue to work on living Renny's Way each and every day by serving others and mending any fence that may need mending. The Stephen Reynolds Foundation has been our outlet to serve others and we will continue in our en devour to reward good kids and help others who need help but may not want to raise their hands. We have had the privilege to award $2000 to 4 great students and it has been amazing to connect with them and their families. We are confident they will go out in this world and live Renny's Way and hopefully that will rub off on others. If everyone lived Renny's Way just think how nice a place this world would be. But I can only control what I can do as the rest of you, but if you just make someones load just a little lighter you have truly accomplished something.
I will continue to work each and every day to become perfect, and although I may never achieve my goal at least I am trying. I will continue to serve others by my work on the School Board and the Stephen Reynolds Foundation. Our family would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support of not only our family but also of your support of the Stephen Reynolds Foundation. Your response to the events and merchandise is phenomenal and we cannot thank you enough. Check out our website and facebook page often for new and events.
Lastly, we will be doing some work with the Willmar Hockey Association to bring Willmar Cardinal Hockey Alumni back for at least one night a year. The 3rd Annual Stephen Reynolds Alumni Hockey Game will be on December 28, 2013 at the Willmar Civic Center. Our goal is 60 players this year and 2 separate games.
If we accomplish this goal and grow it into Hockey Day in Willmar I know Stephen Reynolds will be smiling down on the game each and every year.
Now go out and live your life Renny's Way!

God bless you all,

Mike and Darla