I was thinking about what to write this week and decided it was time to pay homage to my father-in-law, Murray Williams, who we lost to a two and a half year battle with cancer on February 3rd. What did he have to do with the topic? Well...EVERYTHING!
After Murray's passing, the pastor was trying to get a read on his character and what he was truly like. Someone brought up the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It dawned on me that he was every single one of them. I can't say that about many people, most of all myself. But I could say, without reservation, that Murray embodied all of them.
So what does that have to do with DIY? Well, Murray was a licensed contractor who was the Director of Projects at University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. When he wasn't doing that, he was drawing house plans for people. Then when he wasn't doing either of those things, he was working on his own house, helping others with their projects, or using his gifts at his church.
Faith doesn't need to be lived out on a large public stage. Murray lived his more quietly and consistently on a daily basis, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in every endeavor. He dearly and faithfully loved his wife, Sheila, so when she would come up with one of her many ideas, he executed them with joy and patience. (She helped too.) Every year of my husband's life in his house, there was a major remodel. Just in the 20 years since I have been part of the family, the den has been in three places, the dining room in two, a fireplace has come and gone, a bathroom was added, two bathrooms were remodeled, hardwoods were put down, a doorway was made to create an ensuite, a playroom was converted to a second master, including ensuite, a massive laundry, mudroom, and "coffee" room extension was put on, a sunroom was added, he built two pergola's, retaining walls, and put up new fencing. That doesn't include any painting or rearranging of furniture and pictures. Despite multiple trips to Lowes, or things not going exactly right, he was always self-controlled. He worked calmly, and quietly, modeling gentleness which gave everyone around him a sense of peace.
On top of his own home projects, Murray embodied the fruits of the Spirit at his job, his church, and as he helped remodel two houses for my sister-in-law and also her dance studio. He was a good and kind landlord of two rental houses and our mentor as we worked on our own home. He patiently taught us to lay tile, mud drywall, hang trim, and do electrical work. He was our go-to guy when we needed to troubleshoot problems which meant we usually had a project for him on his visits. I didn't mention the incredible patience and self-control he showed as he drew our house plans by hand, four times! No computers for him.
Murray was a really good guy who loved God and his family and showed it in how he lived. We are so much richer for having this man in our lives. I have been profoundly influenced by him and could not have gotten a better father-in-law and he lives on in my husband and his grandchildren. Though the works of his hands will stand for many years, most importantly, what will last is the Christ-shaped imprint he left on all of us. We will miss him greatly.