Cousin's Wedding in Osprey, Florida

November 28, 2004

Good morning Dad,

I'm still here in FL with Kristian. I decided to take some extra time off from work and be with him since we don’t get to spend much time together. It has been such a refreshing break with him. As brothers, many of our discussion were about you. In fact two evenings ago, as we were driving north to Orlando, many of our talks began with, “do you remember when dad used to…?” Some of the things we shared about you were so hilarious. We laughed hard, and even cried a little. I’m sure that as we were talking about those hysterical moments, you were looking down and laughing with us also. Only you could place such a huge smile on our faces. I just wish we could make you smile now with you present.

Some of our discussions were of a more serious nature. We talked about how different our lives have been without you now. It’s very hard for us to wrap our brains around this whole idea that you’re really not here with us and won’t ever for the duration of our earthly lives. As a family there is something we feel inside that only we share and understand. It’s like having an acquired language we never asked for but now live with. Those who haven’t experienced a similar loss seem far removed from our situation, making us feel as if we’re aliens in a foreign land. They don’t seem to understand us; and we don’t feel understood.

We also talked at length about the companies we now lead and how much we miss going to you for wisdom and advice. We know you and mother gave us enough to succeed, and you encouraged us to find individuals we could trust when we lacked expertise or wisdom in a particular area. We have been doing that and will continue to heed your advice.

As for my trip to Florida, it has been wonderful. This has to be the first time in perhaps fifteen years that I’ve felt refreshed, both physically and emotionally. I’ve enjoyed running each day in the sun. During each run, I had many opportunities to pray and give thanks to God for the immense blessing you were to our family. As I ran parallel to the beautiful beaches of Sarasota, memories of you and our family came to mind. Thoughts of you intermittingly came to my awareness as I was taking in the beauty of my surroundings. I also thought about what our lives would be like if you were alive on earth today. We do know things would be so much different…that’s for sure.

As I shared with you, I got the opportunity to be with Kristian in Orlando. On one evening we went to Treasure Island, one of the few places at Disneyworld where the focus is on adults only. I went and did some Christmas shopping for mom. At one point as we were walking and sharing with one another, I stopped and paused. I thought about Walt Disney’s amazing ability to dream, even when it was considered impossible or imaginable. He was a man who exuded creativity in all areas of his life. He had the ability to be child-like no matter how old he was and went to the extreme to make people, young and old, smile. There is something here that I connect with when I think of this man.

In one sense he reminds me of you. When I look back at the many times we had alone or with our family, a lot of our discussions focused on “reaching out” and “connecting” with people right where they were at. From the different beaches of Florida, to the Adirondack Mountains of NY, to our many road trips, or just sitting in our living room, we dreamed a lot about how we could, as a family, be used by God to make a difference in the lives of others, starting with just one person. There was something magical about being together and envisioning what the future would be like with each family moving in their unique talents and gifts.

The place that Kristian and I were standing on was a place where one man’s dream took life and action. We both concurred that although you’re not here any longer, we’re still determined to make an impact in the current and future generations. Our businesses are exciting ventures that God has placed in our lives, but they’re only part of the overall big picture. Personally, living a life without touching the lives of others would be void of any meaning. Life would simply be empty and shallow.

In 1999, I sat down with a well-renowned man. His specific mission was to help others find their life purpose. As he sat with me and listened to my adventurous life, he reflected back to me many things, but he never told me what he thought my life purpose was. He challenged me to think through and wrestle a bit about my calling. He also encouraged me to seek God and ask him to clarify my life purpose in a nutshell. I took on his challenge. I thought this was going to be a long process since I’m very analytical and tend to slice things in more ways than one. But at the same time, the logical side of my brain (assuming there is some logic up there) helped bring many pieces together, seeing a greater view of the big picture.

That’s one of the reasons I appreciate my former field of study (psychology) because it allowed me to hear the many facets of an individual’s life. Listening to them share gave me the possibility of seeing their life with greater clarity. I wanted to understand them better. I wasn’t there just because they were a client. I cared about them. Their lives had much meaning and value to me and, to not take the time to ask questions, to learn about them and understand their needs, their pains, and their dreams would be a failure on my part to really care about them. As you know, I’m no longer in that field for reasons too long to share in this letter, but I’m indebted to the valuable insights I’ve gleaned from the academic training and actual hands-on experience I had as a psychotherapist.

As I examined my own life, I looked for repeated life patterns, places of convergence, and areas where I was most happy. From that exercise I came up with a very simple life purpose statement: “to bring hope to the hopeless.” It sounds too simplistic, but it really fits me. Everything I do, should offer hope and encouragement to others. If it doesn’t, then I shouldn’t be involved with it. I would only be frustrated and discouraged.
For example, as I think about laughter and its ability to bring about joy, I realize more and more that humor is a huge part of my life. Although, it does seem like that part of me died when you died. However, I do see that part of me - which loves to make others laugh - returning. It's just going to take some time. I remember hearing you tell me how humor was so core to our family. It brought many generations of the Agoglias through some very difficult times. Humor has a way of leveling the playing field. It can bring two people at odds with each other back in union. It can restore someone who was once hurt by another and, sometimes all it takes is a wonderful smile. It can offer hope for those who have given up on life, and can - in a very big way - be a source of healing to many broken hearts. So for me, when I’m in a situation or even a relationship where I can’t be free to be humorous or make others laugh, I get discouraged and frustrated. I can’t be me underneath this skin of mine. And thus, I’m not walking in my purpose.

Another area which may shock you is in my field of web design and development. When someone comes to me and shares their frustrations about their existing website, they’re in a state of frustration, chaos, or disorder. With a clear understanding of my purpose, I can move in this area of bringing hope to others. Thus, I get the ability to listen to each client, understand where they’re currently at, and know the place they want to be in the future. I take all of this into account as I custom-design a new website for my clients. Consequently, I take something that’s in chaos and bring it to a place of order; thereby, bringing clarity and hope again to someone who was about to give up.

These are just a few examples of how my purpose takes shape. But I realize you and mom were pivotal to helping me recognize and understand my purpose at a very early age. You pointed out the many areas where I seemed to thrive and be in what I call a “zone.” When I was in high school, you suggested that I consider studying psychology since I loved working with young people. You pointed out how I “came to life” when I worked with kids who came from less fortunate upbringings. Specifically, it became apparent when we went on camping/hiking excursions or regional competitions with Christian Service Brigade (CSB). When I was too old to partake in the program as a student, I loved leading the teams and cheering them on to victory with each event we competed in. I loved being in the middle, getting them “pumped-up” and seeing them go out with an intense passion, zeal, and excitement. And, when we won, I remember how we would gather around in a circle, jumping up and down because of what the team had accomplished. The many months of training for those regional competitions all came to a culmination as we received our trophy for that year. At one point, we came in first place eight years in a row. There was something about that experience that made me feel as if I was called to this. It was that ability to lead, to motivate and encourage, make others laugh, and succeed which helped me to see that I worked best when such values were present in a given situation or relationship.

As Kristian and I partook in one man’s vision in Disneyworld, I couldn’t help but think about our calling again as a family. Kristian shared the same sentiment. You may not be with us physically, yet you live in our hearts in a much greater capacity, perhaps, more than when you were alive. I say that because now I’m much more aware of your significance in our lives. We’re even more aware that our lives on earth are temporary and that our time to make a difference is NOW.

Dad, may you one day know by the fruit of our lives that your impact on your three sons was enormous. I can’t wait to one day meet up with you and just catch up. Even now it seems like so much time has passed. By the way, could you send me your phone number in heaven? I miss hearing your voice and would love to simply tell you how much I love you.

Love you forever,


TIDBIT: Written in Orlando FL, Sunny skies, 87 degrees.