A moment with Frank Jordan

After his daughter found my book and letters he was keeping, I was notified today that a special friend, Frank Jordan, died last Sunday. He was 90 years old. He lived a full life! I will miss him. He has had such a powerful influence on me. It was so nice of his daughter to phone. She asked if she could keep his book and the letters I had authored. I said “yes” surprised that she asked but happy to reassure her that yes she should keep them.

Some people I connect with deeply, regardless of age or gender. Frank Jordan was one of those people. He loved life even with its tears but mostly he found its joy, love and wonder. Others might miss it – not him. I know he was at peace with his life because he told me so the last time we spoke on telephone in the early summer. I know he will meet his tomorrow with enthusiasm.

Here is a passage from my book Leading Raspberry Jam Visions: Women’s Way about the man of whom I speak….

[Frank Jordan] is a personal mentor I have been honoured to have in my life since childhood. For me his life represents a high measure of success. You will not find his poetry and wisdom in university libraries but you may find it published on the placemats in small restaurants in the region in which he lives. You will not find his wealth ranked amongst the top 25 families in Canada, nor will you even find him given recognition for his wealth within his own small community. His paid career work ranged from jobs such as driving a school bus to janitorial work. His volunteer work ranged from voluntary ambulance attendant to knitting blankets for the hospital auxiliary and the local transition house for women leaving abusive relationships. He does not own his own home or many other material goods.

Are you beginning to question why I feel this individual is successful?

Frank Jordan is successful because he knows how to love. He knows how to love unconditionally and expressively in every day and in every moment. He goes by many endearing nicknames that are used by his whole community, not just his immediate family. To be in conversation with this man is to know your own humble humanity and to walk away hugging yourself – and the whole world at the same time. He has a gift that is rare and valuable. His gift is complete appreciation for life and living. Most recently, we were engaged in conversation as I walked out with him to his car, and he told me how he used his ‘little helper’ (as he shook the cane used to steady his 83-year-old stride) on days like today – days where he was required to be on his feet for several hours. He told me how blessed he was, because he could still drive during daylight hours. As I stood with him, shivering beside his car, he continued to count his blessings and tell me important stories that he knew I needed to hear. I listened intently, appreciating his calm, confidence as he said “you know god loves me so much that I just can’t help myself! I have to spread it around!” His face is lit with the excitement of his conviction, and even from my rather non-committal stance, I would be hard-pressed to deny the existence of his god or his love.

Then with equal importance he continues to tell me how his wife, who is several years older, has not being doing so well. His face is transformed by the sadness of his thoughts. Then he gives his head a little shake and looks up at me before continuing: “most recently she had been having a particularly bad day, and was in tears trying to get dressed, because she was unable at that time to dress or undress herself.” At this point in his story, his eyes start to squint with pleasure: “well, I went over and gently helped her, as I laid out my own complaint – I said, ‘well woman, you know I love you dearly, and I do not mind helping you take your clothes off at night, but it seems rather cruel to ask me to help you put them back on in the morning!’” He described how her tears gave way to laughter as she called him “an old fool,” and blushed from his continued life-long pleasure in her.

His living is an immediate gift, and his stories of living are a continuing gift that offers up a picture of infinite success, in their telling and retelling. Yet, to acknowledge his success (since it fails to fit the acknowledged and typical definition we as a culture have allowed ourselves to accept), it must be carefully and explicitly stated and justified. He has touched and influenced countless lives in his daily practice of joy, recognition and love. I have unquestioning confidence in the huge worth of the rippling effect of his life’s work, in giving and receiving. The consequence of his influence in my life alone has allowed me to have hope in the darkest moments, to believe in my abilities, to forgive myself when I fall short of my expectations, and to have total fascination and delight in people and in living. He chose to accept and embrace the paid work available to him, and to excel in using these positions to fulfill his true mission in life, which was to minister to those he met in his everyday interactions.

My challenge for us is to question all measures attributed to success – not just those that are beyond the quick and easy definition provided by wealth and position. I ask that we embrace the multiplicity of success, and carefully explore and articulate what we believe is success in a particular situation, and also what consequences result from that success. For me, success is not about getting it right and sailing to the finish line of life. Success is about allowing your persistence to sail your vision through every day… while the breeze of your passion and potential charts your course. (pages 75-77)

I have no pictures of him… isn’t that strange? To have been friends since I was fourteen years old and no photographs? I have never felt I needed any – today is no exception. I can see Uncle Frank anytime I want, by sitting with my heart open, smiling at what the day has to offer.

Sprout question: How might you describe your creative success?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

20 thoughts on “A moment with Frank Jordan

  1. Terrill,

    I am extremely touched by your honoring of Frank Jordan, in words as well as the way you live your life. What a blessing you have had in your life experience to have Frank color it with his experience and example!

    I am Love, Jeff

  2. How might you describe your creative success? That’s a great question, Terrill. Let’s see, for me, creative success is being true to my vision and challenging myself to respond to the silence within in a way that enriches the world. Lovely tribute to Frank. See you soon, take care. –Daisy @ SunnyRoomStudio

  3. I believe I feel successful when I put my feet under the sheets at the end of the day and say to myself ,”This is good” and deep in the fiber of my being I know I have made my corner of life the best that I am able to do…

    This was lovely writing and sharing…Thank you

  4. Oops, forgot the inspiration question. At this point, on one level, creative success means the finishing of a painting, a quilt, or even a photograph I am particularly pleased with; but on another level, it is the nurturing of my daughters’ own creative outlets.

    • Sue, I can so relate! You are in the last few years of direct day-to-day parenting. There will like be plenty of time for painting, photography and quilting later. But being with your children must happen now. I am glad I took the time with the kids when I did and now I have the time to really dig into my creative strengths. If your are like me you will squeeze in some of your own creative time no matter what.

  5. Terrill – I don’t know HOW in the world I missed this phenomenal post and your GORGEOUS new look! But I’m here now, and glad for it!

    Sprout question: How might you describe your creative success?

    For me, creative success is keeping it simple.

    • Laurie, I was about to send out a search party as I don’t think you have missed posting a sprout since the beginning of Creative Potager on December 26, 2009! Good to know it was just one of those days:) Nice sprout response and this is what was behind my “new look.”

      Dear readers, the new look happened late last night. I am not sure I am completely done tweaking it but I wanted something fresh and clean looking. So thought I would give this a try. What do you think? Will it do? Suggestions?

  6. “Frank Jordan is successful because he knows how to love. He knows how to love unconditionally and expressively in every day and in every moment.”

    And therein stands this very special man’s essence. I was deeply moved reading this Terrill, and Frank Jordan was equally lucky to have a friend like you. I have gone through this kind of bereavement for very special people, and it all comes down to the capacity for love, which trumps all else in this world. I extend to you my heartfelt condolences.

    • Thank you Sam. Hard to believe he is gone.

      Some memories that I treasure:

      Frank used to pick me up when I was a teenager hitch-hiking the 27 miles home to the family farm under the guise “I wanted to get a good visit on your folks anyway.” He would stop in at his home on the way to see if his wife wanted to come along. Sometimes she did. Mom and dad always made tea and thanked him for bringing me safely home.

      Later on, Frank drove four hours with his daughter to where I was living when my son was born. I was just nineteen and a single parent. He came with a gift, a big hug and let me know I was special and important at a time when I was feeling very alone.

      Frank took me to lunch a few years ago after his wife died. I was up visiting my parents and made a lunch date with him while I was there. He was so thrilled to take me to his favourite place to eat and introduce me to everyone. We had pie for dessert.

      Frank was around long enough to bless my marriage to David last December and to know I was doing well – very well in my life.

      You are right though Sam… it is hard to lose the people who love us and believe in us no matter what. At the same time, I know how special it was to have known him and be left with these treasured memories. Thank you Sam for your kind words and thoughtfulness.

  7. Terrill – I checked and checked to make sure my “email notification” for yesterdays post (the one that I missed) wasn’t in my in-box, my trash-bin, or my filter — nowhere to be found. I wonder if I didn’t receive an email for yesterday’s post because you were busy “remodeling” it? But I definitely received a notice for your post today (heading over there momentarily). When I woke up this morning I realized I hadn’t had my “daily dose of Terrill” and went to Creative Potager manually. That’s when I discovered that you hadn’t missed a day of posting, rather, I’d missed the notification. I LOVE THIS NEW SPACE — IT’S VERY INVITING — FEELS LIKE HOME.

    • Hummmm! It is a mystery. It shouldn’t have been impacted by the update as I started later in the evening. I wonder if anyone else got there notification? Might have been because it was the last of the three days where we are affected by the full moon. Or I didn’t hold my mouth just right when I hit send. Who knows. I am glad today’s notification went through fine. Seems whatever it was, it has fixed itself.

      “I LOVE THIS NEW SPACE — IT’S VERY INVITING — FEELS LIKE HOME.” Good to hear… because that is my intent.

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