Friday, August 7, 2015

My Big Brother Marcus

"Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" - Gen. 2:7 As you know, I have three wonderful big brothers, Pelham, Marcus and Bob. They have truly been a blessing in my life. I have always looked to them for example, direction and support. Two years ago, I was forced to say bye to my big brother Pelham. He succumbed to cancer. He left behind great kids who are raising their own families now. He was a great man and genuinely watched over me as the youngest Staples boy. I’ve missed him a lot. Last week, after a difficult and too brief battle with ALS, I said goodbye to Marc. He contracted ALS a few years ago and, as is typical for that disease, it damaged Marc’s muscular system eventually taking his life. I’m still a bit numb as we didn’t expect the disease to pick up pace like it did these last few months. Marc leaves behind a wonderful wife, companion and friend, Brenda and two great adult kids, Collin and Rachel. Our mother is still doing well in Fort Worth and will miss him dearly. And of course, Bob and I are left to carry on the Staples legacy. Marc represented that heritage well. Integrity, hard work and a genuine concern for others are traits our dad taught us and lived out before us. All the Staples boys have different strengths. Marc’s gift was in his hands. As a kid, I would watch him work on family cars and fix anything and everything. He taught me how to repair fuel pumps and carburetors. He loved mechanics and he loved creativity. But eventually he turned his creative hands from cars to God’s creation, planet earth. That’s what led him to be a geologist. He was actually my professor for a geology lab course when I was a freshman at Baylor. Even then, I could see his passion for geology. But ultimately, cars and rocks weren’t going to be enough for his artistry. After all, automobiles and geology have limited creative potential- but not God’s ultimate creation. Marc knew his hands could change oil filters and find fossils, but the ultimate test would be in helping heal God’s most precious creation: his children. So Marc went to medical school and learned how to use his hands to provide healing and comfort in life. Marc’s hands delivered thousands of babies in his career- a much bigger deal than cars and rocks. I’ve often thought that God could have just spoken and created man and woman, like he did the rest of creation. But instead He used his hands to form man. God knows too well the gift of the hands. Marc knew that gift as well. That’s what was so hard about his illness. His loss of touch was difficult. But he never lost the touch of his love for those he loved, Brenda, Rachel and Collin. He loved them so much. Marc was an artist and engineer and sometimes his intellectual mind struggled as he tried to figure out life and God. But he understood who God and Jesus are. As he wrote me, “I do believe in God and intend to live each day to it’s fullest and find joy and purpose in the days I have left.” I’m so glad I had Marc for my brother. If he tried something, that was reason enough for me to try it as well. He went to Baylor Graduate school, so when I graduated from high school, I went to Baylor. Marc has moved on to Heaven and I will follow him there one day as well. I am so thankful for Marc’s gift of his hands and touch. Rest well Marc. Keep using your hands as you embrace a loving God. Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” I say bye to Marc with a smile on my face, and I look forward to seeing him again someday… …and experiencing his touch as well. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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