Many of us will often ask the question: What does a real man look like?
Some people picture the model, Fabio, with the perfect hair, chiseled body, and the flawless smile. Other people picture a real man as a guy that lets nothing in the world bother him. Everyone has their idea of what a real man looks like.
I know a real man. His name is Paul Miller, Sr.
When I was a high school punk, I was invited to church by a friend. I was hesitant because my exposure to “the religious crowd” was not that pleasant growing up. I was baptized as an infant but that was about it as far as sporadic church attendance as a child. Now you can understand my unwillingness to “try youth group”.
Let’s flash back to the fall of 1999 when I attended a Lock-In at a local church. I thought I was going to experience cute girls and basketball. Nothing is better than that! I also thought that I could deal with this “Jesus stuff” later on. I did not have time for that stuff at the moment–or so I thought. I went to a few events and slowly became part of the church crowd. Now, friends…..let me remind you, there is great power in community, awesome power in the context of community. In this church community, I noticed that some of these adult volunteers were different. They were capable of a great transformation within me.
I could write about all of my awesome youth leaders that I had a teenager, but there is not enough space on this blog for that. Our youth group leaders were great. They talked about Jesus and they lived out their faith. This one guy though, he really stuck out to me. This guy is that “real man”, Paul Miller, Sr.
Paul and his lovely wife, Shelly, hosted several of our youth group events. Paul attended several events, while at the same time, operated his own trucking business, too. Needless to say, he could have spent his free time doing something else other than hanging with a bunch of teenagers. The more I got to know Paul, the more I could not help myself but to want to learn from him.
We went through leadership changes at our youth group. Paul and other leaders stuck with us when it would have been easy to abandon ship. I was really getting to know Paul just when, well, we toilet-papered his house. Let’s just say that peer pressure in our youth group consisted of talking others into doing things like toilet-papering houses. Good, clean fun….literally! 🙂
So we TP-ed the Millers’ home one weekend. And one week later, we ran into Paul’s son (Paul Jr) in a friend’s neighborhood. It was random because they did not live near our friend’s house. Later that night, my friend’s home was TP-ed. It was the artwork of Paul Jr. These kind of things are what we partook in for fun during our youth group years. Obviously we participated in the typical church camps, retreats, weekly gatherings, etc. but Paul’s ability to laugh about the TP incident reflected the vision of forgiveness that we’re taught Jesus has for us.
I continued to get to know Paul (and his family) as I finished out high school and left for college. As the years unfolded, I was blessed to witness both of Paul and Shelly’s children get married. Grandchildren were born. Paul Sr. was still active in his family business.
Today, the legacy continues.
Let’s get back to the focus of this post.
What makes a real man?
Paul is a family man. Paul loves his wife and children and his daughter-in-law and son-in-law as his own. He is an equally awesome grandfather. Oh, and when I say he is a family man, I am not referring to just going to church on Sundays “just because”. He lives out his faith. He practices what he preaches. And he has made an impact on many people’s lives.
Recently, Paul began to face a serious illness. In fact, I will post the story on here from the donation website because my words cannot do it justice:
Paul Miller Sr. was taken to the ER at York Hospital on Feb 4th for what his wife thought was the flu. Once there the doctors realized he wasn’t getting oxygen to his extremities. They immediately put him in an induced coma and put him on a ventilator. At this time his body was going through Toxic Shock due to bacteria in his blood. He had purple blotches all over his skin and his hands and feet did not have good blood flow.
On Feb 7th the doctors at York Hospital decided they had done all they could and had Paul airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown . It was there that the doctors treated his infection which turned out to be Streptococcus Pneumonia. The rest of his body was healing with the antibiotics except for his hands and feet.
On Feb 12th the doctors determined that the tissues in both of Paul’s hands were dead and that they needed to be amputated. The procedure was done on Feb 13th. Two days later on Feb 15th the decision was made to amputate his feet which also had no viable tissue left. The money raised through this fundraiser will be put towards the cost of medical expenses and prosthetic hands and feet.
One of the fundraisers last Sunday was at Alfredo’s Pizza II in Hanover. They donated a portion of sales to help the family and also had raffles and coupon booklets. My two leading ladies (my wife and daughter) and I went up there to join the dinner crowd. The place was PACKED! Friends of mine also attended lunch shift and said it was equally PACKED! As we were eating our pizza, I saw several people that I personally knew, from church or youth group, that had been greatly influenced by Paul. Alfredo’s Pizza staff were gracious despite a packed and hectic atmosphere. While inhaling my pizza, Alfredo’s staff took pictures of everyone there. I overheard stories of how people knew Paul or his family and how much he meant to them. Paul continues to fight towards recovery but he has continued to build a legacy.
For me personally, I know Jesus because of Paul and a few other real men, who invested in me as a teenager. They loved me despite of where I had been or what I was doing in the present. They put me in check when I needed it and let me vent to them when I needed to clear my head and my heart. Paul and these other men showed me that there is great value in living from the heart.
Friends, what legacy are you building for your family and friends? How about for those whom know you personally and professionally? What difference are you making in your work? There is a difference between making money and making a difference. Do people know that you will fight for what is right? Do your spouse and children know how much you love them?
If you want to make a difference, I encourage you to help and get involved. Follow the link below to make your donation.