Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Precious Life - Tony P.

This past Sunday, I delivered the following eulogy to honor my brother's life, and to provide perspective for the rest of us.

We shared a special bond, one that few brothers are blessed to enjoy. Many of you have already shared with me some amazing stories about how he touched your life as well.

Thank you for all of your support, thoughts and prayers.


There are only two naturally innate fears – the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. The rest are learned. They say the #1 learned fear is public speaking, and #2 is death. Go figure, he gives me the harder one…

I’m actually not afraid of speaking, but I’m afraid that I’m not prepared to talk today. I’m not prepared at all. I should not be standing up here. This day came way too soon. But I am honored to be speaking on my brother’s behalf. He has now faced death head on, ending a long and courageous fight.

You may know him as Tony, or Anthony. I always called him Ant.

This is such a sad day for all of us. We have lost a brother, a husband, a son, a father, a relative, a friend. We have lost a true original. I was not the only person at the visitation last night expecting Ant to open his eyes and flash a smile.

This is such a happy day for Ant. He is in the comforting arms of the Father. He put his faith in Jesus many years ago, providing a beautiful testimony at his baptism. He was a great man, and was always striving to be a better man. Like all of us, he did not live a perfect life – before, or after, that day. But through his faith his sins were washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

If you don’t have that faith, get it.

Anyone who has known Ant for a long time remembers a lively, vibrant man. Whether a joke, a skit, or a comment that no one else would think – or dare – to make, you often found yourself shaking your head in disbelief, but laughing to the point of pain and tears.

He often asked why he was given all the bad breaks when it came to his health. He had a lot of them. But he kept his spirit for a long time, and in that he was an inspiration.

In James 1, it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

My brother is now complete. He is in a glorified body, free of all the sickness he experienced here.

One personal note: Mom – I do get the last word - Anthony broke the Dresden figurine.

On by brother’s tombstone, it will say June 24, 1963, the date of his birth. Then there will be a dash. Then it will say October 16, 2013, the date he left us. That dash represents his life. It represents what we are remembering about him today.

If you’ve attended a funeral service before, you may have heard a challenge about life. A challenge about the value of time, the fact that you are not guaranteed a tomorrow. What did you do when you heard that message?  Anything?

You are faced with that same message today. What are you going to take from Tony’s passing? What are you going to do differently today? What real changes are you going to make in your life?

If there is a dream to chase, I’m going to chase it.

If there is something to say, I’m going to say it.

If there is a friendship to repair, I will make the first move.

Frankly, someday may not come. You may hear that there’s always tomorrow – eventually, there is not.

You see, I think we will experience two very different feelings when we face our Lord. As a believer, the first will be the joy of an eternal relationship in the presence of God. The second? I believe we will be shown everything more that we were capable of doing. For many, that will be a very wide, and very sad, gap.

The older I get, the more I meet people my age who express regret for the way they’ve lived their lives.  Sometimes it’s what they have done; more often, it’s what they haven’t.

D.L. Moody said, "Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't really matter.”

Let me ask you. What is your passion? What is the purpose of your life?

Are you a consumer, or a producer?

Is your life adding value to the lives of others?

Do you have a mission – a passion?  And do you have the courage to chase it?

I’ve seen firsthand the difference living with passion – living out a mission – has made in people’s lives.  When you are in pursuit of a mission, it’s unmistakable to the people around you. It transforms everyone around you. It’s infectious.  It fills them with the same passion, the same energy.

How does your family see you, every night when you return home from the battle? Even in the toughest of days, do you wear a smile knowing you were in pursuit of your passion? Can your family see it in your eyes?  Can you stand in front of your family and say you gave your all?

Turning that around just a bit can be very convicting… Can your children, perhaps your spouse, say they’ve seen you give your all for them?

You are not guaranteed tomorrow – Ant thought he had more tomorrows.

I wish he did. I miss him. I know you do as well.

What will you do with that feeling? Find what drives you, and chase it.

The great men and women of history were not great because of what they earned and owned. They were great because they gave themselves to people and causes that lived beyond them.

When the paratroopers jumped into Normandy in June 1944, did you know that some men refused to jump? Can you imagine what it was like, the rest of these men’s lives, because of their fear, their refusal to jump? They lived on. But it was said that their lives ended the moment they refused to leave the plane.

We all will die in the end – there’s no excuse to die in the middle! Everyone has to pay one way or another.  You can give into your fears and pay with your life; or you can pay the price of overcoming your fears and live.  It’s your choice.

Sometimes, all the inspiration you need falls into one simple question.  When you reach the end, what story do you want to tell?  When you are gone, what story will others be telling?

Please, in honor of my brother, make a commitment today to live each day to the fullest. When you think of him tomorrow, ask yourself if you’re honoring the commitment you made today.


  1. So sorry for your loss, Chuck, but also very touched by your words and your love, leadership and message.

  2. Words from a fellow brother In Christ Jesus. Love you Chuck. You are a blazing light for Christ, may your light blaze the the rest of your dash and always "consider it Pure Joy"

  3. Great job Chuck... People don't wait your entire life to take quantum leaps of faith. Life is short and precious, don't waste any of it. Karen