Mr. Dick (Richard Atkins):
Kind, Generous, Thoughtful, Helpful, Honest, Hospitable, Considerate, Unselfish, Charitable, Fair, Loving, Giving, Uncle, Brother, Father, Grandfather, Friend… Just plain GOOD!!!
Last week a very dear friend, grandfather figure, neighbor, Mr. Dick, passed away after fighting a two year battle with prostate cancer. Mr. Dick was our neighbor for the past six years. Not only was he our neighbor, but all of the aforementioned! When we first moved to the “city”, Mr. Dick was the first on our doorstep with goodies and offering to help us move in. He was there to check in on us, be sure we had everything we needed, and continued this until he was unable physically to do these things. Even then he was always asking us how we were!!
“Mr. Dick” (this is what everyone knew him as) had no children of his own, biologically, but in fact he had 100’s of children and grandchildren. He adopted anyone he met! Anyone that knew Mr. Dick knew that he was a kind and generous man who would do anything for anyone. He was so great at connecting with people and “showing them the way”.
Mr. Dick was an active member of his church, First Presbyterian of Corinth, MS; active in his community, the biggest Ole Miss fan ever, and loved being around others. His home as well as his heart was always open to anyone who wanted to come and be a part of his world. The kids knew he would always be there to give ice-cream and popsicles, runners in the neighborhood knew his outdoor refrigerator was always stocked with water for them to “grab & go”, and his home was always open to anyone who wanted to stop for a chat and of course you had eat something too. Mr. Dick was known for making sure everyone was fed and had plenty before they left his home.
Mr. Dick also loved to see those he love succeed! When Jason and I first started talking about opening Rowan House, he was encouraging and eager to help us get started. I can’t tell you how many customers he sent to our shop!! Anyone he saw he would ask them, “Have you been to Rowan House?” (Chad Dickerson you can attest to this! And if you haven’t been to Sanctuary be sure to go!) When we moved to a larger space, Mr. Dick was there to help!!! He not only came and gave us “direction” (ha ha), he came by daily to check on the progress, brought us food for nourishment and even when he didn’t feel well he came! He would have the girls find him a comfy chair and he assembled lamps or unpacked inventory. After we opened he would bring the girls candy and food, which we LOVED!!!
I pray that his upbeat spirit and generosity will be a lesson to us all! I know that many of us have stories about “Mr. Dick” and I encourage you to share them in the comments below. During his sickness he was upbeat, faithful, and always thinking of others first. He had a deep faith in our Lord and Savior and showed his faith to others daily. I pray that I can show that same generosity and faithfulness to others. Jeremiah 31:3 says “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Mr. Dick showed the same love that Jesus has shown to us, and I pray that we would elevate our expectations and show love to others today and everyday!