A Life Well-Lived: In Honor of My Outdoors Dad

Something incredibly significant happened in my life in February, 2018—my Dad finished his course in this world.

My dad and his dog, overlooking a lake and hills
My Dad at 61, with his dog, in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains

He was welcomed into the Celestial City (as it’s called in Pilgrim’s Progress) by His Maker and Lord.

One of the ways my dad, Ivan, lived his life was in loving and enjoying the outdoors. He passed on that love to all five of his children, including me.

We were blessed to have parents who took us kids camping, hiking, swimming, and on road trips to beautiful places.

man in bright shirt on a trail surrounded by aspen trees
My Dad loved his tie-dyes! A hike in Superior National Forest

When we started collecting pictures of Dad for his Celebration of Life service, we found quite a few of him adventuring in the outdoors…

  • Honeymooning with Mom in the Canadian Rockies when in his 20s
  • Camping with the family when in his 30s and 40s, including a family road trip back to the Canadian Rockies and Montana
  • Dog sledding in northern Minnesota when in his 50s
  • Summitting 14,065-foot Mt. Bierstadt in Colorado with my brother when in his 60s
  • Careening down a 200-foot water slide at a Mexico water park when in his 70s.

He was always adventurous!

In his 80s Dad developed dementia and signs of Alzheimer’s. As long as he still had the physical strength, one of his favorite things to do was to walk the trails through the woods in a local park with us (shown in the photo below).

my dad in the woods, walking
My dad, in our last season of walking the trails of a local park

My dad wasn’t a perfect man, or a perfect husband, or a perfect father. He struggled with depression all his life. He had faults like the rest of us.

But he lived his life fully. He impacted so many people—people we heard from at his funeral and for many weeks afterwards.

He had a deep, lasting faith in his God and a deep commitment to his family, his church, his friends and causes he believed in.

For a long time now it’s been one of my desires to live my life well, too. I’m honored to have had such a good example of that in my father.

Several of us kids put up Facebook posts about him after he passed away. I love this one posted by my youngest sister, Katy (the photo was taken by my older brother on a hike in Colorado):

older man hiking in the mountains
“On to the next adventure. With love and gratitude.”

May you, also, continue to pursue a life well-lived. In the end, we want to be able to say, like the apostle Paul:

“The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. From now on, the crown of righteousness is stored up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved His appearing.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:6-8

(World English Bible, public domain)

Here’s more…

Sharon Brodin