Updated: Jul 13
| This is the 36th story of Our Life Logs |
I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life and have been given wonderful blessings. These blessings wouldn’t be in my life if it wasn’t for my faith in God. I was raised Christian and taught to make God a priority. However, this was not something I was able to do from a young age. I had heard stories of children that found their faith and devotion early in life, but I just couldn’t do it. I always thought of myself as a Christian, but I never had the incredible connection people kept telling me about. Finding true strength in God has helped me live a happy life.
I was one of the lucky people in this world who didn’t have tragedy run amok his entire life. I was born in 1959 in Hamilton, Ohio to two loving parents. I grew up during the time of the Vietnam War when boys were getting drafted. We were raised to think that when we were old enough, we would go off to the military. This was a norm. I was lucky enough to have missed the draft cut-off date by eight months and never had to go to war.
My parents made sure that I grew up with the values they thought were essential. I was taught to serve others before myself and to treat everyone with respect. My father was a wise businessman who sold houses and made money out of money. He didn’t trust banks, so he kept all his money with him. My mother stayed home with me and my two siblings. Though my father was successful at business, he never cheated anyone like most businessmen are stereotyped to do. He taught me to find success in a fair way.
School came easy to me, and so I breezed through it. I was a social kid and enjoyed talking with everyone in my classes. My father’s career motivated me to dream big when I was a kid. I wanted to join the astronaut program, travel the world, and work on the mechanical side of things. While I never became an astronaut, I did pursue engineering. As I grew up, I was the one to fix things that no one else wanted to fix. Through mechanical engineering, I could learn how to hone my skills. I went to a small college in Dayton, Ohio and got my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering.
I started out working in a small company in Cincinnati, Ohio building vending machines. I did a lot of drafting board work there. I stayed in this job for two years before I began doing contract work for whatever project I was needed on. At one point, I helped work on the military engines used in desert storm.
In my 20s, I turned to God as I searched for meaning in my life. Now that I was older with a better understanding of life and how it worked, I finally felt that connection with God that I desired to have. I accepted Christ in my life, and it brought me an incredible sense of peace. I knew that with God in my life, things would work out.
When I was 26, I got married to my wonderful wife. We met through mutual friends, and I thought she was the cutest girl I’d ever seen. We dated a year and a half before getting married. We had four children together. Some of the well-paying projects for my job were overseas or hours away from home, but I made the choice to pass up those projects, so I could stay with my family. I never wanted my kids to feel that they were not my priority. I had grown up in a traditional home, and I wanted the same for my children.
I’ve had loss plague my family, most from old age. The one that impacted me the most was my father’s death in 2004. He was only 69 when he passed. He had a history of medical problems, but we didn’t expect him to go so soon. The day he died he’d gone to a flea market with my mother, had gone home to take a bath, and died right next to tub before even climbed in it. They said he had congestive heart failure.
Not long after my father’s death, my mother lost three brothers in a row. From her family of eight children, she is the only one still living. This time was difficult, but through the grace of God, I got through it. I figured that if it was his time to go then I had to accept that it was God’s Will that he died when he did. Perhaps his dying prevented him from experiencing worse pain if he had lived longer.
I knew the fragility of life before my father’s passing, but his death reinforced the lesson. Everything is temporary, and we must be thankful every day for what you have. Many of the values I hold close to my heart have come from my parents or the Bible. I have lived a blessed life, and it’s through Christ that I’ve found serenity and happiness. Getting out of bed each day being able to stand on my feet is something basic, but it’s something I’m thankful for. Even if life seems to have given you no good cards, you might need to look at the cards from a different perspective.
This is the story of Greg Prater
Greg currently lives in Ohio with his wife. He works as an engineering lead at a supply chain technology company. Greg has been lucky to have lived a happy, normal life. Through the lessons he was taught growing up, he tries to look for ways to help and be kind to others. His children are all grown up, and he is now a grandfather to five grandchildren. He is very much in love with eating and trying new food. He couldn’t pick a favorite but would definitely pull off the highway for fried chicken if he catches a whiff.
This story first touched our hearts on March 9, 2018.
| Writer: Colleen Walker; Editor: MJ |