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10 Oct '12

Legacy: thoughts on my dad

Posted by T.J. Addington in legacy
This photo of my parents captures the autumn season of their lives. Especially my father who suffers from dementia and no longer knows who I am - or his other ten children, spouses, 46 grand-kids and 16 great grand kids. His mind is dim but his spirit is kind.

It is hard to watch brilliant minds fade. A civil engineer, Divinity school graduate, Medical Doctor, surgeon, Doctor of Ministry degree, author, father, missionary, hospital founder (Hong Kong), great grandfather and mentor to many who found Jesus through home Bible studies, Sunday School teacher, church planter, Chief of Staff at United Hospital, theologian and the list could go on. All of that is today forgotten by him but not by the many people he touched over the years. Many will be in heaven because of my parents ministry.

It is a reminder that legacy is not about money, name or fame. It is about lives touched. I was once going through the security line at the Minneapolis airport and the TSA agent looked at my licence and name and asked if I was related to Gordon Addington, the surgeon. I said yes. He told me that my dad had invited him over for Christmas one year when he was a janitor at United Hospital. He never forgot that act of kindness for one in the hospital hierarchy who was very low on the scale. But not to dad.

As a youngster I helped him do surgery when trained assistants were hard to find in Hong Kong. We camped and took trips to Macau and explored the hills of Hong Kong. Above all he was consumed by knowing and serving Jesus.

The grandchildren had a wonderful relationship with Dad. He loved them and they loved him.

I look at this photo taken by one of the grand kids and I see a frail, tired, unsteady man. Not long, perhaps for this world. But most of all I see a picture of legacy. A legacy that will last through family and through those he ministered to. I hope that when my feet are unsteady and my mind fading that I too leave behind a lasting legacy.