Reflection of a Broken Man

Today, 87 years ago, a man by the name of Wilhelmus Vogel was born.  He lived quite the life.  I’ve written about him before.  His story is pretty incredible.  He only made it part way through his 85th year, and my life hasn’t been the same without him.

I’ve been thinking about him a lot the last couple of weeks.  I looked to him for approval on so many occasions and his wisdom often became my life’s compass.  In making this move to Charleston, I really don’t think he would have supported it.  Knowing that broke my heart, but as I look back on his life, I see how similar our personalities really are.  He did the same thing.

He survived a WWII German prison camp, he, along with my Oma were torn by war and poverty.  Many things in their lives, even after the war, could have broken them apart.  I’m sure there were days they came close, but somehow they found it within themselves to keep living for something more.  In 1950 they left their home and traveled to a very foreign land to seek out a new life for themselves.  That takes guts.  They knew a handfull of people and arrived with $12 in their pocket.


I am a reflection of my Opa, but I don’t often feel like it.  I wish I had the wisdom he did.  I wish I had the determination that he had.  However, I’m certain if I dig deep enough, it’s somewhere in my DNA.  A job half-done wasn’t good enough.  He was a man who went above and beyond.  Everything he did was because he knew beforehand that he could.  Despite everyone’s opinion of his ability, he became educated, he had an incredible job, he made a life for his family.

I know that I have his sense of ambition, though.  He didn’t just talk about doing something – he did it.  I hope that I’m becoming more like that.  So maybe he would’ve supported this…probably after a good many conversations until I convinced him it was the best thing for me.  I don’t really know the whole process of heaven, but I hope that he’s looking down on me remembering all the chances he took…and that he sees the benefit of stepping outside what’s comfortable.  You never know until you try…


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