This past weekend, my husband and I were out of town for the wedding of my best friend’s son. On Friday night we all enjoyed a memorable rehearsal dinner. In attendance, among others, was my friend’s dad, Ken Roth.
I’ve known Ken for over 45 years, but anyone who knew him would describe him as hard working, kind-hearted, friendly and loyal. He also had common sense, which he’d likely say “isn’t so common.” ☺ He was fiercely loyal and if a business wronged his family or friends, he’d likely “boycott” the company responsible for the wrongdoing – sometimes for years!
He had some hilarious, yet also very wise sayings. For example, in the midst of people gossiping about others, he would say, “There are two kinds of people in this world; people who have just been kicked in the rear, or those who are about to get kicked in the rear.” That made people chuckle, but it also made his point and stopped the negative comments.
An Unexpected Turn of Events
Throughout the rehearsal dinner, Ken had a great time connecting with everyone. It was also evident that Ken had the love of his family members –four generations in attendance.
Early Saturday morning, Ken woke up next to Sally (his wife of 58 years). He shared that he had some pain in his hip and then literally, a few minutes later, took his last breath.
The news of Ken’s death was nearly impossible to digest. Just 10 hours earlier he’d been so full of life, and it seemed inconceivable that we wouldn’t see him later that day. Many thoughts swirled in my head, wondering how the wedding day would unfold, and thinking about how many people would be affected by this sudden and unexpected turn of events.
A Faithful Reaction
Knowing the Roth family like I do, however, I wasn’t at all surprised with their response; it was yet another demonstration of their faith. Throughout the day they spoke of the unwavering peace they had, assured that Ken was in Heaven. They also spoke of the sadness and pain they were experiencing. However, in the midst of their heartache, their faith was put into action. They chose to make the day a celebration of marriage for Ken and Sally’s grandson, Adam, and his bride, Lauren. They knew that was what Ken would have wanted and it’s what they wanted as well.
The Pastor had obviously prepared a message for Adam and Lauren’s wedding. What he shared, instead, were heart-felt words that couldn’t have been more perfect. He shared that love (at times) includes grieving. When you’ve loved deeply, there may come a day when you grieve just as deeply. However, it would be foolish to avoid the pain of grieving – for that would deny us one of life’s greatest gifts, which is love.
In reflecting upon Ken’s death and the Roth family’s response, I’m reminded of the word, “Hesed.” It’s a Greek/Biblical word that is defined as “faithful love in action.” Ken’s life was a great example of faithful love in action, and so was his family’s response to his passing.
A Wise Investment
Ken invested in what mattered most: His relationship with Christ, his family and his community. Consequently, he left behind a legacy of faith. May we all be inspired to live as Ken did, wholeheartedly – putting our faithful love into action.
Note: In 2012 I wrote a blog titled, “Thanks for the Gift,” which is also about Ken and Sally Roth.