Today marks a birthday for a man very special in my life.
An Incredibly special man.
A man that has conquered the world in my eyes. Everything he does is magnificent and everyone he meets is touched by his presence.
Yes, we celebrate another year...but not just any year.
A year that has overcome unmatched odds... A story that only God could create.
If it weren't for the grace of God, he wouldn't be the vibrant living man he is today.
This man is my father. (I am about to gush with pride, so I apologize in advance :)
William Colin Marris was born August 10th, 61 years ago today.
A brilliant child.
His passions were reading and history, even at a young age. His mother talks about how she would hold up a book of the presidents and as an infant, he could point to each one and tell you their name.
A boy who, when President Kennedy was shot, a previous teacher of his took down the president's photo in their classroom and sent it to my father, with an inscription on the back reading, "Someday this will be you."
Growing up, he was the lead singer in a rhythm and blues band that played the very first Milwaukee Summer Fest, now the world's largest music festival.
(That's him, on top :)
In business, he took the insurance world by storm. Starting out, he doubled his successes every year for the first six years.
He took a fledgling company that was about to go bankrupt and in the following year made it the top producing agency in the country!
CEO and President of the oldest insurance agency in Milwaukee.
Member of MENSA.
Officer in the US Navy.
Incredible Runner and Body Builder.
(Dad with my beautiful momma :)
You see, this man does nothing small. God gave him a huge heart and a passion to share that heart with everyone he meets.
He has been extraordinarily successful by the world's standards and has a genius IQ...but is also one of the wittiest and most fun people I know as well...a rare combination.
To me, although his successes are great by the world standards... even if he had never accomplished a single one of these feats, he would still be one of the most inspiring men I have ever met because of his passion for his Lord.
He has always been one of my very best friends.
And his story of re-birth begins here...Christmas eve, 2001.
We had just had the most memorable Christmas to date. Being Mr. Christmas, my father had truly "decked the halls" to no avail. All 13 Christmas trees were lit, the magic of Christmas was in the air.
After opening our gifts and the family retired to bed, my pops and I sat in the living room reflecting ove the evening as we both adore this time of year.
With a twinkle in his eye my father exclaimed, "Tonight was magical. If I died tonight, I would die a happy man."
Little did he know, a few short hours later...he would suffer a massive heart attack and would medically be considered "dead."
Right before his heart stopped beating in the ambulance, my pops began to pray,
"Into thy hands I commit my spirit."
Never a moment of fear. Never a moment of questioning whether heaven or the Lord existed. My father will tell you today that he had an incredible peace. A peace that passes all understanding.
He knew in the depths of his soul that not only that he was dying, but he knew exactly where he was going.
My pops was resuscitated immediately thereafter and was rushed to the city for the best care in the state.
Overcoming incredible odds (ecoli infection, pneumonia, as well as several other attacks to his immune system) dad survived.
Since that time, dad has counted 11 times that he should have been pronounced dead.
Every morning that he gets out of bed he utters the words, "Thank you Jesus for another day."
Experiencing him and his larger than life personality, you would never guess this was his story.
The Lord has given him a special gift....LIFE...again, and again, and again.
And he has dedicated his LIFE to share his story. God's story.
Today is a special day that brings tears of joy to my eyes and praise in my soul.
I share this story with you, not just to celebrate this miracle of life...but to give glory to the one who gave it to him...
This man truly affects the lives of everyone he meets. His life is a testimony.
He blesses their hearts, he blesses our family's hearts and he blesses mine.
I praise God Daily for his story. His life.
The HAPPIEST of Birthdays to my father.
A man of God. My friend. My hero.
The world is a more beautiful place because of you.