Sunday, May 24, 2009
The past week has been a very difficult transition in life, but also one that has revealed some important lessons.
On May 15, I received a phone call informing me that my close friend, Wayman Tisdale, had passed away. Because I am a firm believer in divine order as well as timing, I accept the fact that it was God’s time for Wayman to come home. But even though I don’t question why this happened, I of course am deeply saddened that it did.
Wayman leaves a legacy of a real man. First and foremost, he was a man who wasn’t afraid to honor the love of his life – Regina – the woman he had loved since the age of 16. He honored her in any public setting he found himself, whether she was present or not. He was also a father of four, and a tremendous example of what fatherhood should be like. He was flat-out crazy over his daughters, Tiffany, Danielle, and Gabrielle, and his son, Bubba. He was also blessed and smitten by his first grandchild – Bailey. At the age of two, she had him 100% wrapped around her finger.
At the tribute ceremony for Wayman at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Wayman’s life was celebrated as thousands gathered to pay their respects and show their love. He truly received the royalty treatment. I was honored to read the opening Old Testament Scripture. Wayman was truly infected by the joy of the Lord, and that infection affected everyone that he came into contact with. It was evident in how he lived his life.
Then there was his music: His joy came through loud and clear through his music. And many of his friends from the music industry – Toby Keith, Dave Koz, Arthur Thompson, Marcus Miller, Tom Braxton, Fred Hammond, and Jonathan Butler were just of few of those who offered their tributes to Wayman. His band – the Wayman Tisdale Band – played some of his favorite songs.
As we drove to the burial site, there were people outside clapping and waving in his honor. The streets were blocked by the Tulsa Police Department. The Mayor of Tulsa even spoke, sharing how she too was affected by his joy, his smile, and his laughter. If it’s true that what is in your heart will come out of your mouth, then Wayman had to be one of the happiest men ever created. As we celebrated Wayman’s life, I reflected on the fact that this is truly the way to leave a legacy.
The day after I heard that this wonderful man – a man whose heart is full of compassion and joy – had passed away, I had the joy of seeing my nephew Kevyn graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University. As the third Green to graduate from college (out of more than 20), it was a moment that filled me with pride. It was incredibly special for his Grandma, his brother, and even his nine-year-old nephew to witness this event. It also brought life into perspective moving from such a low to such a high. At the end of the day, you need to appreciate the time you have, and enjoy the relationships that you have. You never know how long you will have them, so rejoice in your loved ones, and in their accomplishments, big and small. Real love, true love, is sacrificial. So treasure each day, treasure each relationship, and treat others the way you want to be treated – Wayman Tisdale style.