If you read my blog yesterday, you saw my tribute to my father-in-law, Bill Swedberg. He died a couple of weeks ago. On Saturday I officiated at his memorial service. A few years Bill died, his daughter Debbie gave him a journal to record key aspects of his life. It was called A Father’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words (J. Countryman/Nelson, 2000). Bill filled out many of the hundred plus pages, sharing stories of his life and observations on living.
I thought I’d pass on several of these with you. As you’ll quickly see, Bill was a man of few words. Yet in these words we find timeless wisdom, occasional humor, and deep faith.
Tell about a special outing you took with your dad. What makes this a poignant memory for you?
I loved to fish and hunt. My dad didn’t like either. He did take me deer hunting. He left me at a spot to with for deer. I’m not sure where he went. But I didn’t see him until it was time to go home.
What mischievous prank did you pull on someone? How did it affect you?
Halloween was the day for pranks. Tipping over outhouses was one I remember. I was in high school and I started to drive at age 14. I helped my folks in the furniture store we had. I used to help deliver furniture and run errands. We had a 37 Plymouth and a trailer. On Halloween with some of my friends we transported an outhouse to our high school and put it on the front lawn. It was quite the talk of the school.
What places in the world would you still like to visit? Why?
I’m 76. I’ve travelled over most of the U.S. and Europe. I’m content not to travel anymore.
Share some tips for a great vacation
Pick places you like to go . . . and go!
Share some of your insights for working well with others.
Listen, Listen, Listen.
What is the gutsiest thing you ever did in your life? Why did you do it?
Record here your ideas on what it takes for a husband and wife to maintain a healthy marriage.
Communications and the love of God.
When did you become a Christian? How did your life change?
I became a Christian as a child but I didn’t grow until my experience in the front lines in combat in the army. God brought me home to serve him and I hope I will be at it until he takes me home.
If you served in the armed forces, describe how your time in the service affected your life. If you did not serve, how did this affect your life?
I was drafted into the army at age 18. It was in Dec and I was in the army in March. I spent one year training in the States, then I got on the Queen Mary and landed in Scotland. I trained and guarded troops until the invasion in June. I landed in France about two weeks after the invasion. Then after the break through we spearheaded a force in France with Patton. Then kept going until the surrender. Much happened and I was lucky to come home alive.
What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you? How did you handle the experience?
Being in combat in WWII. This experience developed my faith in God that is with me through my whole life. I think when we face death or hard times and look for God for help, it develops our faith.
How have your ideas about God changed from when you were young?
Each year I got closer to him. Experiences in the army. Seeing so much death helped me look at life as a day to day growth toward God and heaven.
Recall for me five of the most important lessons you have learned in life:
#1 – Live one day at a time.
#2 – Don’t worry about the future.
#3 – Seek God in all important decisions.
[You’ll notice that Bill didn’t give five lessons. It was like him to be brief and to the point. Photo: my wife with her dad a few months before he died]
Share some principles from Scripture on which you have chosen to build your life.
Romans 8:28 – and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. This is my life’s Scripture.
What spiritual legacy would you like to leave for others?
A man who loved God, who loved to help people from the Lord Jesus Christ through his words and actions.
That is how Bill will be remembered!