This afternoon I attended a memorial that I would never have anticipated. The service was for a man, mid 60’s, full of life, personality, music, and fun! When I was told he had suddenly passed away– well, it took my breath away!
When my sons were in High School, this man’s daughter attended the same High School. Our kids were involved in the same music and drama departments, so Greg and I often sat shoulder to shoulder with this couple as we all faithfully attended so many of our “kids” events! He loved his family–it was as so evident!
About 2 years ago, during a church service I saw he and his wife across the aisle; they may have been attending our church for a while but it was the first time I had seen them there. Little did I know then that this precious man was on a journey to know Christ in a new and deeply profound way! It was only a couple of months later that Greg and I got to witness him being baptised in water professing his deep committment to Christ. Yes, there were tears!
What meant the most to me was that his two adult children were at the baptism to support their dad in his faith. I remember him, with tears in his eyes, saying that it was the rich committment to God that he had seen in his kids that had helped him come to a new place of trust and faith in the Lord. His only regret had been that He hadn’t had a faith strong enough to lead THEM into a deeper walk. What was happening in his spirit was real and everyone who knew him could see it.
It wasn’t long before he and his wife Cathy began to be a part of a small group as well as serving at the church Coffee Corner! We had the joy of hearing this gentleman play piano for worship on numerous occasions; his face just beaming.
Earlier this year he had given himself permission to go on a Holy Land tour with our church; this had been on his bucket list!! The trip was emotional and meaningful for him, even causing him to kiss the steps where he had learned that Jesus had walked.
Most recently he had become a grandpa; a great joy…..so many wonderful experiences had come full circle.
Who would have known that today a memorial would have been held to celebrate his life! And that’s where you and I are all affected…….We don’t know how much time we have with those we love, nor do we know when the Lord will take US home…..
While I listened to the heartfelt and profound thoughts of his adult daughter and son I was so struck by the fact that, though he was not a perfect man, he made choices in his life that have left a huge legacy for his family…and a huge hole in our community. He cared for people, he lit up a room when he entered it, he took time to pour into people ” just because”…no agenda. He was passionate about life, the health of our country, pouring into the youth of our community from teenagers on down to toddlers. He love his wife and kids; attending each and every meaningful event, planned numberous vacations to build rich memories and a passion for life! He was a faithful husband, father, friend, businessman, and community leader.
As friends and family took the microphone to share personal thoughts the words “caring, kind, funny, honest, faithful, passionate, and loving” were repeated over and over again. But-what I heard from those that knew him best was that he had really found joy, hope, and peace in his new and profound relationship with Christ. Comitting His life to Christ, walking in Grace, learning that God is trustworthy, and understanding that He had been marvelously and miraculously saved by God, had made all the difference. I don’t know this, but I can imagine he had wished he had walked in this rich relationship with God much earlier in his life!
For all of us the question is, Have we made the most important things a priority? Are we seeking to know Christ more every day? Are we being truly present with family and friends? Are we making sure that those we love KNOW how much we love them and why we appreciate and respect them? Don’t wait! Let’s re-focus today ~~ we truly do not know what tomorrow may bring.
Bill- you will be missed. In the words of your family~ “We trust that in heaven you are playing a keyboard and joking with the angels.”
We will see you again.