North Georgia Elder Law - December 2019

Kevin’s Peace of Mind

www.kevintharpe.com (770) 503-1022

December 2019

Life Lessons From a Good Friend Living Life With Love

our families became close and we started doing everything together, like post-church lunches and holiday celebrations. My daughter called him Uncle Jeff, even though she already has two Uncle Jeffs who are both blood-related. But Jeff Drake was family. It was an easy friendship to form for many reasons, but the most simple yet powerful reason is that Jeff was always there. Without fail, before you had even thought to pick up the phone and call him, Jeff was there ready to help. He had an uncanny knack for knowing what other people needed before they even knew themselves. Jeff truly had a servant’s heart, and he got true joy from serving others. Me andmy family were regular recipients. When they were younger, Jeff’s siblings entered the military, and Jeff longed to serve his country, as well. Unfortunately, Jeff was denied that opportunity when doctors said he didn’t meet the necessary vision requirements. But when I think about the way Jeff lived, I can’t help but smile at how those military doctors missed it. His doctors could not see what Jeff saw. Jeff had exactly the right vision to fulfill an entirely different mission and purpose. Jeff exemplified how one can serve their country by serving God and by serving others. He viewed the world in a unique way that always prompted him to see the good in people. Jeff was so invested in doing whatever he could for others that it’s a wonder tome how he ever had time for himself. But when you’re that happy helping others, I suspect it’s all you need. This Christmas will be challenging because Jeff won’t be here to do one of his favorite things —play Santa. With his long white beard that he kept up all year long, coupled with frosted spectacles and his extra special ho-ho-ho laugh (which he also kept up all year long), Jeff was created for the job. But it wasn’t just Jeff’s physical demeanor that made him“camera ready”to be Santa. Out of his servant’s heart, Jeff was attentive and jolly to everyone in the family, but he also went above and beyond to bring a special meaning to his role as Santa Claus. Every

It’s rare that youmeet someone and instantly know they’re going to be meaningful to your life. My friend Jeff Drake was that type of person tome, my entire family, and, I imagine, nearly everyone whomet him. We lost Jeff unexpectedly in October 2019, and it’s been incredibly hard to navigate our way around the crater he’s left in our lives. But I think a great way to start is by sharing the joy of having known him. Jeff and I met over 20 years ago through our church, where we worked together on producing a children’s puppet ministry. That fact alone already provides a clear idea of what kind of person Jeff was: a fun-lovingman with an infectious spirit. Jeff wanted nothingmore than to serve God and be a blessing to his family, friends, church, and community. Jeff’s goal was to bring happiness to others. It wasn’t long before

year, Jeff would visit the forgotten areas of his community to spend personal time with children who may have not gotten a chance to have a “Santa”experience. Jeff consistently volunteered the endless love in his heart in order to provide others with the true meaning of the season. Jeff did it so naturally that I often wondered myself if maybe he really was Santa. I have learned some of life’s most valuable lessons throughmy friendship and brotherhood with Jeff. The most valuable lesson, though, is that making yourself available to others and giving of yourself will make you wealthy with love and gratitude. Jeff was living proof of that. He was loved because he gave love. The doctors said we lost Jeff because his heart just gave out. I have to disagree. We didn’t lose Jeff because his heart gave out —God called himhome because Jeff gave his heart out. Jeff didn’t just talk about his faith. He lived it, and there was no limit to it. I know that early October morning when Jeff left us, God welcomed home one of His most dedicated and faithful servants. I will always celebrate Jeff’s life by serving others, seeing the good in everyone, and above all, loving God, lovingmy family, and loving others without limits.

I will miss you, Santa Jeff.

-Kevin

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