You might remember a few years back there was this movie, Four Weddings and a Funeral. In the span of one week, real life nearly turned that title around to Three Funerals and a Wedding. Sometimes life comes rolling onto the shore in soft, gentle waves and sometimes it comes storming in like a Tsunami. This past week has felt like that. It’s been a runaway train of intense life events. I know I’m not alone in those feelings.
This blog is not about death, it’s about celebrating life, it’s about learning from all the good around us and making good happen through the power of words, thoughts, actions and perspective. Read the vision at the top of the page, Becoming more, helping others do the same. I have learned one way to do this is to share some thoughts, to remind someone else, or even make a stranger aware of a special person and what they brought to the world, because they chose to take their rare gifts and share them with others. By doing so they have helped all they touched to become more, because we were simply a part of their journey. Their glow illuminates our lives. But here’s the something extra, even if you didn’t know the person well, if you read about their accomplishments, their gifts, then you too gain insight and inspiration. Maybe enough to help you do the same for someone else. By doing so, we can all make this life special.
Special defined the man my family called, Uncle Joe. Born back in 1936, Jonas Grosshandler was one of five children, and he was the baby, nine years younger than his big sister, Hannah. But he grew up to be a big boy in the eyeglass business, as an extremely successful salesman and manager. Joe used his 77 years to make a difference. He embodied the idea that G-d gives you two hands in life, one to help yourself and one to help other people. His two-handed balancing act was a model for us all.
Because of his success, he and his second wife Dawn were able to retire sixteen years ago, but that’s when life really took off. Because they did. Joe and Dawn traveled the world, visiting seven continents, more than 120 countries and every state in America. What a way to learn about life, by seeing it through the eyes of others from all over the world.
But besides traveling the globe. Joe was all about the other three g’s: golf, gadgets and giving. He loved golf, he had every golf club, golf bag, golf shoes, golf toy you could think of. And he was a good golfer, just ask him. He was just bad at math. I know, I played with him. Adding up his shots on each hole was an art of addition, subtraction and improvisation.
He also owned, or wanted to own every electronic gadget he saw. If they built a better mousetrap, then Joe was going for the cheese. If it appeared it would make life simpler, or better, or just looked cool, Joe was all in. Before Apple figured out how to make a product you couldn’t live without, Joe already knew the feeling, he had tons of products that made him the envy of everyone.
But his greatest love of all was his family and giving of himself, to them. He found his greatest joy in them, he loved spending time with them. He loved to share his knowledge of sales, especially with his grandson Adam, and spending time with extended family and friends at the holidays. Events which always led to tears…tears of joy and laughter. From his two children, two grandchildren and three generations of nieces, nephews and cousins. Life was good. Three generations, we should all be so fortunate to be around to see number three.
And there’s that number again. Three. From the three funerals I attended this week to the three generations which helped define a man’s life. The number can’t be ignored. If you follow this blog, then you know a few months back I published a post about that number, http://markbrodinsky.com/2013/03/15/3-is-a-magic-number-its-just-about-life/
and with this blog I’m actually now three posts away from #100.
More on that in a few days.
It’s my honor take a few minutes to remember Uncle Joe. And I can only scratch the surface. As Rabbi Dana Saroken talked about at the funeral, Jonas Grosshandler worked hard and played hard, right up to the end of his life. He lived every day to the fullest. And then she gave us all words to live by, inspiration for our days ahead: “The amount of years G-d gives us in this lifetime is not in our control. The length of our days is surely in G-d’s hands. But what we can control is the way we use the time we are given. What we can control is how we approach our lives and living.”
And to that I say, Amen.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.