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Jiffy Rental Center
Jiffy Rental Center
Jiffy Rental Center in Riverton, Wyoming

A friend of mine passed away this year. We both attended the same church. We shared something else in common: we both were late at times.  On these occasions I sat in the back, sliding quietly into the first available pew.    Not Leroy.  He would walk down the ailse in front of God and everybody to the front pews, no matter how late he was.   I finally asked him why.

“I want to make sure God knows I’m there,” he told me with a grin.

You could say that Leroy saw things differently than most of us.  Most people sit in the back when late because they worry about what others think of them.  Leroy sat up front because he was more concerned about what God thought of him.   This seemed fitting, considering why people go to church in the first place. 

The more I knew about Leroy, the more I admired him. At a young age he was sent away to Minneapolis for treatment of TB. He must have been about eleven when he had to leave family and a familiar home to travel alone on the train. A year passed before he returned. Today, we wouldn’t think of sending a young boy by himself on a trip that far and for that length of time. Yes, times were different back then. Yet Leroy came through them. He endured hardship.

When he returned to his familiar home, his joy was short-lived. He was in a car accident and lost one of his legs as a result.  Yet once again, Leroy endured. Life was never easy for him.   For years he endured the discomfort and pain from a worn-out prosthetic leg, but he rarely complained. He simply carried on.

Leroy was much more than a friend to me. He was a hero. When we think of heroes, we usually think of athletes or movie stars, but life’s true heroes are often ordinary people who do extraordinary things. We all endure some hardships, but can you accept life’s difficulties and look on the bright side?  Leroy accomplished this feat time and again.

When his son died at the hands of others, Leroy asked to me attend the funeral. His family was sitting up front for the service. Leroy caught sight of me as I came in. He got up and thanked me for coming. How many of us would think of others at such a difficult time. How easily it would have been to be overcome with grief and anger. Yet Leroy held no grudges, nor was he consumed with hate. He wanted justice, but mostly, he was sorrowful at the loss of his son.

Some people tear down, others build up. Leroy was a builder. He didn’t build by being powerful or demanding. He built friendships with a gentleness and welcoming way about him. He told stories. He found humor in small things. He spent time loving his family, raising grandkids and having pet names for great grandchildren.
 
When you think about it, love really does make the world go around.  Conflicts or working harder doesn't provide the things that matter most in our lives.  Love is what carries us through.  Leroy’s family is his success.  They are his legacy. 

I will miss seeing my old friend with his one eyebrow taped up to keep his eye lid open so he could see. I asked him once why he didn’t have surgery to fix it.

“Why? he said. “The tape works fine.”    Indeed, it did the job well.      

Everyone should have a hero like Leroy in their lifetime -- someone who instinctively knows what matters most in each situation, someone who loves family, and someone who needs no introduction to the Creator.
 


 

Jiffy Rental Center Riverton