Today I want to share with you an obituary. Not your normal run-of-the-mill obituary, but one of a young man who was killed in an auto crash a few years ago.
“Parker Davis Jackson (Aug. 2, 1990-Nov. 7, 2006) is one of the few people who pass through this world and leave a legacy with such power. On the surface everyone knew him as a ‘great kid’ but for those who knew his heart they knew him as so much more. In our family, Parker was the spark. He was the energy, passion and life. His quick sense of humor, absolutely incredible smile and genuine heart made our family who we are. To his friends and their families, Parker was the ‘other son.’ No matter what environment, Parker had something to offer. We would love to think that we taught Parker something, but in reality he was the one teaching us. We learned how to be passionate about what we enjoy. He was passionate about the Lord, family, friends, sports, and school. His energy and enthusiasm were qualities we so cherished in him. With this incredible energy came an incredible desire to project integrity and character.
Parker always sought to improve himself. He loved doing whatever was true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable and whatever is excellent in the eyes of the Lord (Philippians 4:8). Parker commanded respect and admiration from any and all who knew him. As a natural leader, he was able to influence and inspire all who would let him. We know Parker will be remembered on the sports field, in the classroom, and in the homes of so many who loved him, but what he wanted to be remembered more than anything was as a lover of Christ. He wanted his life to be a way for God to reach those who did not know the Savior of the World. It is an honor that Parker is able to share the gospel in such a genuine and real way. We pray that his goal of God reaching others through him, will be a goal he will most certainly achieve. As a family we always joked that Parker could make a game and competition out of everything, and that he always won. Well now Parker has truly won. He has won the opportunity to celebrate passionately the God he loved and the Lord who is his Savior. We know he would only want us to do the same. So in Parker’s honor we praise God.”
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This obituary was lovingly written by Emily, his sister, Ben his brother, and parents Lauren and Bo Jackson (not the famous one!). Since Parker’s death, it has been difficult at times for this family to breathe. I did not know Parker, but I know people who did. They were touched deeply by his life … and his death. Pastor Andy Stanley of the Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta went to the family home on the evening of Parker’s death. He realized that Parker wasn’t just another kid; he was literally a partner in ministry. As a 16-year-old, Parker mentored fourth grade boys in a Sunday school class. The family developed the Legacy Lacrosse Cup, which includes some spirited games and a dinner for all the participants. After the players eat, they are asked to digest a few inspiring talks. The night ends with Parker’s dad challenging them to live a legacy, handing out cards to help them chart a meaningful life the way Parker had done. “From what I know and what I’ve been told, the grieving never ends, it just changes in many ways,” said his dad. “This isn’t supposed to happen.
Your children aren’t supposed to die before you do. It doesn’t go away. But I do think it could be crippling if you hang on to your grief as an anchor that you drag with you forever.”
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The Jacksons are trying to look at life as a glass half full, not half empty. There is so much meaning to what they do, including the inscription on Parker’s tombstone. It reads: “Had a blast. Wish I could have stayed longer.” Parker is still impacting lives today as you have read this article. May you be so blessed that your life have similar impact as well! Until next time, Blessings!