While doing my undergraduate studies I was taught ‘A Hero’s Journey’. In it are the basic plot points to most decent stories. The premise is that the Hero starts off in his/her “known” world and is some how taken out of it into the “unknown”. There they are faced with tests and trials that then builds to one big (or dangerous!) test that pushes them to the brink. Only at that point are they ultimately able to secure the treasure, whatever that may be, that they set out to find when they left their “known” world to begin with.
This past week marked the one year anniversary of my uncle Jeff’s death.
My uncle Jeff Taguchi pastored several different churches during his life. He married my aunt and their passion for Asia eventually led them to Taiwan where he would pastor one church for much of their marriage together. Jeff was super cool. He married Brittany and I. He and his wife adopted a Taiwanese girl that Jeff absolutely adored. He built guitars! And finally he was just really really real. As my good friend put it (who had only met Jeff a handful of times), “He demanded your attention, but only in the nicest way possible.” Everything Jeff had to say felt like something that I should remember… All that though, was my known world.
I was pulled into an “unknown” world, whether I liked or not, when I attended Jeff’s celebration (since that’s what his funeral was)! There I saw so many different things I’d never experienced before. — Now I’ve been to funerals before. People always have something good to say about those that have passed. “He was always a joy” or “She put a smile on my face every day”. This was different. Every, single, person that spoke had something to say about themselves. They spoke about how what Jeff had taught them had changed them. Not of how super cool Jeff was… He was passionate about loving others and spreading the Gospel through discipleship. He had so much to say about how we aren’t to live as sinners but to take up our roles as heirs to a King. THE KING! – Honestly it made me mad. I was mad for a few weeks actually. I was jealous. I’d known Jeff for eight years and he didn’t teach me any of the stuff these people were talking about… but then I saw it. I scrolled through his old Facebook posts. I actually read some of the stuff he’d written about in his blog. My eyes had been opened and all of the sudden here were all of these truths that were being spoken to me. At that point, my known world was no more. My only choice was to step into what was to come and follow the bread crumbs left behind.
The next six months would bring about different tests and trials. Many questions would be asked of me and you know how the rest has happened. My family and I are now answering a call to Taiwan of all places. I’m not sure what stage of my story I’m at now, and I don’t dare call myself the hero of it, but I know I have a role to play in a bigger story and this next chapter in my own tale is definitely part of it.
This last year has meant a lot of different things for many different people now that Jeff Taguchi has left this earth. One thing I know for sure though, I wouldn’t be where I am now, trying to do all the crazy stuff my family and I are doing, if it wasn’t for what Jeff left behind.
To you with love, Uncle. We miss you, but are so grateful for the effort you put into what you’ve left behind.