Friday, March 25, 2011

A tribute to a wonderful man...

I've been working on this post for several days now.  I found it therapeutic to write, and by posting my thoughts, maybe someone out in cyberland can catch just a glimpse of the special man I was fortunate enough to spend 25 years of my life knowing.

To start, I feel certain that I have been blessed to know one of the greats. I believe that God places leaders among us to lead us on to the path we ought to go. Cue my granddad, John.

A faithful husband of nearly 55 years, a loving father and grandfather, a friend, a Vols fan, and most importantly, a Christian—my granddad was someone I was very blessed to know. If you knew him, you would agree, Heaven gained an extraordinary man this past Sunday. 

Over the past several days, I have been a part of many conversations regarding my granddad.  His life story has been told in various chunks from several different people, yet all stories give me the same picture.  Granddad set his sights on serving others and loving those he came to know.  What an example he has set for us.  The stories my dad and his siblings have told have all described a patient, fair, and loving father that wanted the best for his children (better than he had).  All of the grandkids have also had the same feel to their stories.  My granddad was a man of few words at times, yet none of us ever questioned his love and devotion. 

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For those that may not know, my granddad was plagued with numerous health concerns for some time now.  I am proud to say that he outlived EVERY doctor's timeline for his life.  I believe his endearing love for my grandmother and his family kept him fighting for as long as he did.  The last couple of years have been especially hard for him, but he fought hard each day to get up make the best of his life.  My sole comfort in losing my granddad is knowing that he has gotten to trade in his tired, sickly body for a new one.  He is whole again and is free of pain. 

Isaiah 40:18-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

My granddad's favorite verse was Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Very appropriate, don't you think?  I've also found comfort in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."  You sure did, Granddad.  What a legacy you have left for us.  I have a renewed sense of purpose in life.  I must stay focused on my course and hold true to my Christian values because I cannot wait to see you again. 

John 14:1-4
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs, "I Will Rise."  The song is by Chris Tomlin, and it really captures the hope that we have in life after death.  When my dad and I first discussed putting a slideshow of pictures together for Granddad's funeral, I begged him to use this song.  It is so comforting to know that Granddaddy has risen to the heavens and is now free of worldly pain--what hope we have.

We will miss you dearly, Granddaddy.  Save me a spot up there.  I'll be the one in orange. :)

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