Terence Athos Pratt
1932 – 2010
I learnt a good deal about the man whom I knew as Dad at his funeral. As his life was recounted I was initially struck by how normal he was. He had little education, wealth or status. He had no monumental aspirations and he encountered many of the common struggles of life.
However at the age of 62, while eagerly anticipating retirement, his life was radically and irreversibly changed due to an accident that left him a quadriplegic. Over the last 15 years I had failed to fully come to terms with his continual pain and suffering, the total lack of movement, the utter dependence on others, not to speak of the loss of dignity. There was a sense of injustice for a man who deserved better in his twilight years.
As people spoke at his funeral, an entirely different perspective to my own was portrayed. Where I had seen struggle, and suffering, others spoke of his patience, kindness and love. They talked of his caring concern for family and friends, his commitment to pray for others and of a closeness to his God.
During the service it increasingly became apparent that the Dad I knew as a child had undergone transformation. Somewhere along the way, God had became part of his life. Through the accident and its suffering he had clung tight to his faith and developed and matured both as a person and disciple of Jesus.
Somehow, the ongoing implications of the calamity were in fact to be the making of the man. He literally became the scripture that says, “Let us suffer gladly, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character. And character hope.” My father became an extraordinary man of faith.
As the weeks in hospital turned to months and even years one could not but notice the ongoing commitment and support he has received. His wife of 26 years has literally sacrificed her life for him, never thinking of abandoning as so many others in similar situations do. Proverbs 31 may talk of esteemed wifely qualities but Linda has been a wonder-woman on hand every day and every night without fail (even in sickness) to be his hands and legs and to offer strength and courage when his was weak. “Greater love has no one than this … “ Pastor Jonathon was so correct in his closing comments noting she deserved nomination for sainthood.
The congregation of Titirangi Baptist has also been exemplary. They offered their time, muscle, smiles, tears, food, encouragement and prayers – and it all just kept on coming for over 15 years. Thanks! You have decisively shown why we need the church in a post-modern era.
Terry died a faithful, growing disciple, an ardent chuch man and someone deeply loved by his wife.
– Tim Pratt