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My Life's Work

Updated on January 9, 2013

What Remains Behind You?


Life is full of mysteries. One of those mysteries, the one that seems to compel much of our ambition and work in life, is hidden in our desire to live a meaningful life. I think God designed us with it but left it up to us to find it. Defining what that means drives us into careers, marriages, family and personal relationships of all kinds. Sometimes it can be and often is, disastrous. Other times, 'it's all good' as we're fond of saying these days.

I had a friend, Bryan, who taught me a lot of things about life without ever intending to teach me anything. I could write volumes about the things I learned from this man. He was much younger than myself but he had wisdom beyond his years. No, his life wasn't perfect and by most standards of measure, he probably wasn't even successful. Until, you find the right way to measure success.

Bryan was a brilliant machine technician in the days of mechanical/electric typewriters and early copy machines. He was an accomplished carpenter with knowledge and skills the likes of which I've never seen. When Bryan built something, only a fire or natural disaster could destroy it. And it was all in the details. But Bryan, like all of us, had his faults.

At times, his wonderful wife and child would have to pay the price for Bryan's devotion to his friends and the many challenges he would undertake. Truth is I have a lot of that in me too so it's easy for me to recognize. He loved and cherished them both dearly but found nagging conflict in his life because he had difficulty balancing his personal life with his work life. I actually don't think he succeeded at it very often but his family knew the depth of his love for them without question.

His temper was kept on a short leash. He put it on himself. Sometimes the leash would break and it was not a pleasant time to be around when it did. He wore frustration on his sleeve. When he worked with other people, it was difficult sometimes, to conceal his emotions so that constructive leadership could take place. But leadership was also one of his best qualities.

Bryan instinctively knew how to do just about anything. That was his gift from God, his genius. He had the gift of helps and the gift of being able to teach. Great gifts to have but also, often very consuming. I hired him to manage a crew of seven to fourteen employees in a national graphics operation I managed. I watched in utter amazement as he turned a motley crew into a finely tuned and adaptable machine in a couple of months. He knew every personality, every strength and every weakness of each person on the team. He could bring out the very best in each one. He could make deadlines look easy that would have crushed other teams. He was an encourager and motivator beyond compare. And he gave it all to make it happen, every ounce of knowledge, wisdom and love he lavished upon the crew until they just couldn't help themselves and always gave it their best. What he really gave away without measure and without cost was his immense love. He had something of Jesus in him that most of may never know in ourselves. And Jesus was the light of his life. He was so passionate about the character of Christ that it nearly consumed his every waking moment. The good that came from that was astounding.

My friend died a painful, untimely death at age 47. I can't explain it and my own family will not understand when I say that Bryan's death caused me the greatest grief I have ever known. I wrote this poem for him and read it at his memorial service. It was the toughest reading of my life.

My Life’s Work

Not much to show for my life’s work things done with these two hands

Then comes the thought ‘what will endure’ when I depart this land?

Will bricks and mortar, glass and steel, they’ve come and gone before

Will music, art and poetry, perhaps but I’m not sure.

Then what is there that I can give, the reason I am here?

As I grow older, looking back, the answer unfolds clear.

The things I’ve made while on this earth to serve my fellow man

With age decay and falter, weak, till they no longer can.

But this I’ve learned, when love abounds comes joy and happiness

My love I give to you my friend, to you I give my best.

So take this gift and pass it on, to give is to receive

And worry not of short supply, for love, is love, indeed.

Scott Adie © 2012

Dedicated to Bryan Malone

Bryan Malone

Bryan Malone died of liver cancer at the age of 47. Without trying he taught me more about Jesus than I ever thought I would know.
Bryan Malone died of liver cancer at the age of 47. Without trying he taught me more about Jesus than I ever thought I would know. | Source

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    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Sradle, this is a beautiful tribute to Bryan and the beautifully written poem definitely does justice to a wonderful person. God called him a little earlier precisely because he was a good man whom he wants to give a place in heaven - and know that Ben is giving you his blessings everyday. Well done! Voted up!

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Thanks for reading and commenting @midget38. Both the original poem and this story were tearfully written. Bryan is celebrating eternity with Jesus every day now.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 4 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Beautiful and Awesome!!! Thank-you for sharing this personal story about Bryan!!

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Thank you Patty. I am glad that you enjoyed it. We should all have someone in our lives like Bryan at some time. I hope you have had or will.

    • galaxy1000 profile image

      galaxy1000 4 years ago from Spokane, WA

      Beautiful! Your fortunate to have had him in your life.

    • Magdelene profile image

      Magdelene 4 years ago from Okotoks

      Sradie, your friend Bryan surely knows your love and will always remain in your heart. In our hearts we know the truth and there was a great reason for all that transpired. At least for me, it is hard to understand all of the emotions that we go through when our loved ones leave this earthly plane. They move on to a place of peace, where they are no longer in pain, but we still miss them immensely.

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Thank you @galaxy1000 & Magdelene for stopping by and giving of your time to read this story. It sounds like you both know many of the emotions I experienced both in relationship with Bryan and in writing about the passing of a dear friend.

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 4 years ago from USA- Florida

      What can I say.... You have honored Bryan with this memorial. I wish I could have known him. Some once said that in 5 years from now you'll be same person you are today except for the books you read and the the people you meet. I believe this is so, clearly Bryan had a profound influence on you. I never knew Bryan But I am getting to know you through these pages and through personal fellowship. When I read your stuff you influence me in both ways, for you are both my friend and my teacher. Thanks for sharing with me.

      ABR

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      As usual my friend, I am glad to see you come here and read my hubs. At your encouragement, I have found a new passion in writing. It helps me appreciate the greatness of God and blessings of life. All the wonderful things and the bad things too, that are part of our lives are truly what makes it abundant. Thanks for your kind and encouraging words.

    • harliquinn profile image

      harliquinn 4 years ago

      Such a beautiful thing you have done for someone you cherished. Wonderful hub, I'm glad you shared this.

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      My eyes still fill with tears whenever I look at that picture under the poem. Thank you for your kind and understanding words @harliquinn.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

      What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend! Thanks for sharing his story with us!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Beautiful tribute and wonderful philsoophy, voted up.

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      I hope that everyone can have at least one friend like Bryan in their life. Thank you Kris Heeter and girishpuri for spending some time with my memory of him.

    • deepak2u profile image

      Govind Deepak Kumar 4 years ago from Andhra Pradesh,INDIA

      Good Article Man.. Goo Writing Articles

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Thanks for reading my story about a great friend and someone I loved as a brother deepak2u. And thank you for leaving your own comment. I appreciate it.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      A lovely tribute to your friend. The poem is wonderfully made. Thank you for sharing this story with us. It is poignant, pithy, and poetic. Well done!

      James

    • sradie profile image
      Author

      sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

      Thank you James A Watkins, for your kind words and taking your time to read this poem. I miss my friend a lot. He really impacted my life in a wonderful way and I so look forward to being reunited with him in heaven one day.

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