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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. How I Want To Be Remembered

Chuck Hinman: How I Want To Be Remembered. Chuck says his recognizable gift is teaching but it was replaced by caregiving (mercy) while he took care of his wife during her final Alzheimer's days.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Chicken and Noodles: the Good Ol' Homemade Kind

By Chuck Hinman

How I Want To Be Remembered

Several years ago when I was a member of the Imperuvians Writing Club, we were asked to write on the subject: how we wanted to be remembered. This is what I wrote in 2006.

As you might guess it is difficult to write on a subject like this without appearing to call undue attention to yourself. Nevertheless, it is a required writing subject of this club and I will take a crack at it and let the chips fall, criticism, chiding, winking, smirking, or, more likely, dead silence.

When I have, for some reason, been allowed to occupy space in this world for going on 84 years, it would seem a waste if I didn't leave some tracks that can be traced only to me, Chuck Hinman, tracks that hopefully speak well of me, commend me not embarrass me.

In this world by intelligent design

I am a firm believer in the message of the very popular book of the day, "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Long before that book hit the bookstores, I believed that I am in this world by 'intelligent design,' an often used phrase with different meanings to all, the designer of Chuck Hinman being God. And going a step further, I am convinced that my designer and creator God didn't just stick me here to flounder. I look back and see how God has had his hand on my life and equipped me for what he had in mind in his creation of me. No regrets.

Chuck Hinman came into this life with operating instructions -- the Bible. The Bible makes it clear that as a child of God, I am going to be uniquely equipped with specific spiritual gifts to carry out His purpose for my life. They are identified by name in Romans 12:6-8. It is clear that it was never intended that I be left in the dark as to what my gifts are. He intended that I use the gifts under His guidance.

Recognizable gift is teaching

Over the years, I have felt that my recognizable gift has been 'teaching.' It is spelled out in Romans 12:7. In keeping with the subject of this writing assignment that I set out what I would like to be remembered by, I feel certain the Lord enabled me to teach and this is the way the Lord went about equipping me.

When I came to know the Lord as my Savior, Connie (my wife) and I were going to a Bible study class in the early 1960's. It met in the YWCA building in downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was taught by Paul Locke, now deceased. He was the owner of the Paul Locke Advertising Agency, a successful advertising firm in Tulsa. Paul was a gifted Bible teacher and he chose to pursue this interest in home Bible studies conducted in Bartlesville and Tulsa. In the 1960's when he was coming to Bartlesville, he discipled me in a close study of the Bible for which I am eternally grateful.

Long time member of Bible study group

I was a long time member, together with Connie, of that Bible class, first taught by Paul Locke, and then later by Charles and Eddie Johnstone in their home and more recently by our good friend Rev. Chuck McCarthy, long-time pastor of the Bartlesville Bible Church.

From the basic Bible teaching provided by these classes and my own separate study, I was equipped to teach and did in fact teach Sunday School classes and Training Union classes over the complete age span at New Harmony Baptist Church for forty years. Thank you, Lord, for not only calling but equipping me.

Caring for wife disrupts teaching

Then after my wife Connie developed full blown Alzheimer's Disease it seemed the Lord quit using me as a teacher. I became a full time caregiver and later an advocate for her rights in the nursing home where she spent her last days. Since the bulk of my time was spent caring for Connie, I was apprehensive that I was shirking my teaching gift. I wondered if I was put on a shelf by the Lord.

For several years and in the middle of Connie's being in the throes of Alzheimer's Disease, I realized that I did not have one identifiable function in the church. But through people's frequent comments about my unusual attentive care to Connie's needs and how it spoke to them of the role of commitment in a Christian marriage, I began to feel that this was by intentional design of God. So I became a whole-hearted full time caregiver for Connie.

New gift for new time: mercy

For the first time as I read the Bible I wondered if God was enabling me with the gift of 'mercy.' I began to see that God was giving me this gift mentioned in Romans 12:8. What I was doing as a good caregiver fit the description of the gift. Because it became natural and not something I was doing because of dire straits, I began to notice that God was clearly and unmistakably IN my caregiving, so much that I quit fretting about not being used as a teacher.

Now to draw this writing assignment together and to a conclusion.

Remembered as teacher and caregiver as well as musician and writer

So when God takes me home I believe I will be remembered as a Bible teacher in the church for more than 35 years. Then in a clear calling as a caregiver for Connie, I believe I will be remembered as a superb caregiver for more than 15 years.

Now some of my long-time friends who remember me because of my musical skills and more recently by my writing skills may say, "Oh Chuck, people all over this area will remember you for these." I don't argue with them but I have always considered these as 'hobby gifts,' things that add frosting -- character or personality -- to one's life. Don't get me wrong, I point to God as athletes do, when I am complimented and thanked for my musical and writing skills.

Chuck determines to let his light shine in remaining days

In conclusion, I was apprehensive when the Lord took Connie home to be with Him. My caregiving gift that I was exercising with cheerfulness disappeared suddenly and I became curious if my work on the earth was closing out. Since I am totally absorbed in writing, and I am not sure how that fits God's plans for my remaining days, I want to be sure that my writings are God-honoring.

I hope I never lose the child-like thrill of singing with my creaky old voice the song I learned as a child at the Congregational church at Liberty, Nebraska. It goes in part like this and remains my theme song -- "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine..., etc."

And so it has....

Written by Chuck Hinman. Original version (Things to remember Chuck Hinman by) was emailed 19 January 2007. The revision was emailed Saturday, 21 May 2011.

Editorial Note: I began with the revised version but inserted into it some words and phrases and sentences from the original version which had been omitted. RHS

This story was posted on 2013-12-08 03:35:59
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