Sunday, April 5, 2020

An Ordinary Man

Herschel was the seventh son of the seventh son.  From an early age Herschel heard people remarking on this fact.  It puzzled him. Big deal, he thought.  I get the hand me downs from the handed down.  But then he thought, But I have enough, and I have parents who love me and six brothers to complete my life.  I am blessed.

As his life progressed Herschel progressed as well.  He grew to manhood, married and started a family of his own.  He lived in an ordinary town and worked at an ordinary job.  And still people remarked that there should be something special about a seventh son of a seventh son.  But Herschel said, I have many people whom I love and who love me, I have enough.  I am just an ordinary man.  Nothing special here.

Herschel completed his career and retired, dandled his grandchildren on his knee and watched them grow to adulthood.  Though fame and great riches never attached themselves to this man, he was happy  Then the realization that he was mortal crept in as the aging process and the diseases of old age began to take a grip on him.  People said, Oh, Herschel, you will live forever.  You are the seventh son of the seventh son.  But Herschel knew he would not live forever, and that became more distinctly clear as the months passed by.  So Herschel decided to write his own obituary.  He sealed it and placed it with his important papers and gave directions to his wife and his children as to how to find it and expressed his wish that it be used in place of the boilerplate the funeral homes tend to write.

Then Herschel died.

His wishes were honored, and without the particulars, we here present the final paragraph of what this man wrote.

"Throughout my long life, I was often reminded that as the seventh son of the seventh son I might expect great things and blessings beyond measure.  I have lived an ordinary life,  I have loved and I have been loved.  My life was filled with enough.  So indeed I have been blessed beyond measure.  Let this inscription be engraved on my tombstone:

HERE LIE THE EARTHLY REMAINS OF AN ORDINARY MAN.

Herschel possessed the magical power of contentment, and in that Herschel was an extraordinary man.

5 comments:

Grace said...

I have often said that the ordinary is extraordinary - folks don't seem to appreciate the impact the ordinary life can have on the people who share it.

vanilla said...

Grace, I agree. Those who faithfully perform the "humdrum" chores of life are those who make life possible, for themselves and everyone else. I read an observation of someone today who noted that by labeling some people as "necessary workers" we have divided the nation into two classes: those who are necessary and those who are unnecessary. Where do we go from here?

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

cool story

Secondary Roads said...

A beautiful parable. Reminds me of the Kate Swaffer poem, I Wish You Enough.

. I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, thank you.

Chuck, thanks for posting this poem; and I wish you enough.