Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Good Father

(I'm the one Dad is restraining!)
On Facebook, I received a number of comments about what my students penned this week concerning the topic, The Good Father. Several comments were about my own father who some of you knew. I will take back up with the series from my students tomorrow but I thought I would share some things that friends of our dad wrote upon his passing on April 15, 2008. Thanks for indulging me.

I have found it surprisingly hard to express my feelings concerning the loss of Roger. I guess I assumed (and quite often took for granted) that my wise and loyal friend would always be there. Oh, I thought about the statistical odds that someday I would have to face the fact that I would no longer be able to have those long telephone discussions concerning the latest development in my life, or the compliments so lavishly given and mostly undeserved, though coming from the most genuine of persons. But in the rush to keep up with the world, time has met with eternity and now he is truly gone. It still hasn't settled in yet for me. I have so many rich, rich memories of our conversations ranging from child rearing, to cooking and sharing recipes, to the list of homonyms, to how I really need to talk with the financial adviser and save for my retirement, to his encouraging words concerning my striving to be a good single parent.

Much has been said about Roger's ability to guide and with the Lord's help, heal troubled marriages, or make good marriages stronger. For me, however, Roger will be my everlasting hero because he truly, truly understood the plight, for want of a better word, of the single parent. The parent who wanted so desperately to practice the marriage principles, but having only half the deck to play, was frustrated and filled with sorrow. It was as if he could truly empathize, although he had never experienced the pain of having to raise children alone. He gave me the courage to continue so many times when I wanted to throw in the towel. He never once let me feel sorry for myself. So many times he used the half deck analogy, and listened to my complaints and then responded with "Now what are you going to do about it?" And prayer was always the answer. We prayed together, he prayed for me and the boys regularly, and when I felt sorry for myself, he wouldn't let me. For that I am so so grateful. He was there for me. There when my marriage was in trouble, there when I needed to make tough choices, there when my whole biological family shunned me. Yes, there for ME. He and Nelda attended my graduation, at which I received my doctorate in Occupational Therapy. He delighted in calling me "Doctor." I must admit, I do not utilize the title much, but to hear Roger refer to me as Dr. Sharyn Krazer, really erased a lifetime of damage and low self esteem. If not for Roger and Nelda, I would never have gone to college. Talk about a life changing experience. They had so much faith in me, that I couldn't help but start to develop it and in turn, internalize it for myself. Now, my life has so much meaning. I am able to reach out to others in a way I had never dreamed of.

Since becoming a therapist, I realize the importance of encouragement, of looking people in the eye to bring out the essential information to help them heal, the importance in being genuine. I am so blessed to treat a wide range of people and diagnosis, from children with autism and a variety of diagnosis, to adults suffering from stroke, dementia, Parkinsons, etc. Roger Hawley has played a major role in helping me to see the importance of loving people, the importance of allowing God to work through me to help bring about healing or acceptance. Ever since his death, I hold my patients even more dearly. They are not medicare numbers or earned income for the skilled facility I work for. They are precious human beings. I find myself distributing more hugs and having more patience. I am taking even more time to listen to the lonely, pinpoint and try to relieve the physical pain with a more tender touch, and listen to the mother who is losing patience with her child who has Autism. To me this was the legacy of Roger Hawley. This to me was his legacy of living a life of integrity and right living. People mattered to Roger. I am so very grateful that I have known him. I will never be able to reach so many as Roger has, I am too selfish and not nearly disciplined enough. However, Roger has impacted my life and for that I am eternally grateful. I haven't cried much at all. I believe it is because I was sure in his love for me and I know he knew how grateful I was for him and how much I loved him. It continues to feel so surreal. I will continue to remember how he fully relied on God to the end. He is truly missed, and as the reality sets it, we are blessed for having known him, but realize we will all be together in a better place some day. Thanks for letting me share.
God Bless,

Remembering Dr. Roger Hawley(1929 – 2008)
Roger Hawley was the first person I met when I stepped onto the campus of York College in the summer of 1971. He asked me about my home town, my family, and about my interests in life. Little did I know that he would become a mentor, a colleague and a very dear friend. Years later, in 1985, our paths would cross again when Roger and Nelda moved to St. Louis for him to become the Director of Family Life at Christian Family Services. He was so highly regarded for his professional and biblical perspective on emotional and relational challenges that his counseling schedule quickly filled up with referrals from local churches. Over the next several years Roger and Nelda traveled the US and the world presenting seminars on “The Blessing,” “Helping the Helpers,” and “Caring for Your Aging Parents.” In addition, they were frequently asked to lead a weekend “Marriage Encounter.” Before I became Executive Director of CFS, Roger, Nelda, Deanie and I traveled to North Carolina to attend a marriage enrichment training led by David and Vera Mace – marriage enrichment pioneers. That experience did more to generate ideas on strengthening marriages and families than any other seminar we ever attended. With Roger as the visionary and me as the organizer we teamed up to create an outreach to benefit marriages. The annual “Growing Toward Marriage” seminar for engaged couples and “Growing in Marriage” weekend retreats for married couples have encouraged stronger relationships since 1986. Only God knows how many couples have been blessed by hearing the Hawley’s teach about and model a godly marriage. Roger and Nelda eventually became nationally certified to train the trainers of marriage enrichment events.

Roger was an ENFP (for those who follow the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator)! He was outgoing and intuitive, compassionate and easy going. Roger would literally “type” everyone he ever came in contact with. He loved to test colleagues on their depth of understanding personality styles. Roger was a wordsmith and a speaker extraordinaire. Around the office he was called the “King of Wing” because he could make a presentation on short notice and sound as though he had spent weeks in preparation! Roger and Nelda’s marriage was a living example of two people who grew up in different homes, with different personalities and different communication styles who were willing to work through their differences because of their love for the most powerful common bond of all – Jesus Christ. I thank God for Roger Hawley and for his contribution to Christian Family Services, the various Christian Colleges and universities he served, the many congregations he led and influenced, and for the many marriages and families that are stronger and more in love due to his influence. He was a man of God, a servant of the Kingdom, a devoted husband, a gracious father and grandfather, a faithful leader and a genuine friend. I am not alone when I say, "I am a better person because of Roger Hawley."
Michael Runcie, Executive Director of CFS (1990 – 2007)

God bless,
Steve (son of Roger)
Luke 18:1
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