A Life Greatly Missed – Paw Paw
On the 4 year anniversary of Paw Paw’s escape to heaven–
It’s been 4 years to the day since we’ve had the amazing blessing of Paw Paw being a phone call away. Sometimes in life time seems to stand still. Other times it whizzes by at warp speed–as in one day you have a baby and the next day you’ve had 3 and they’ve all grown into amazing adults, with such confidence and sense of self and who they are in Christ. It’s times like that when a deep angst arises because Paw Paw is not here to experience this with us. He was a great rock that gave great wisdom when it came to his grandchildren. He was a superb example of what Christlikeness means.
We miss so much:
His HUMOR was completely present. He was so funny no matter the grave situation, such as Pancreatic cancer-which is very grave. No pun intended. He never took himself too seriously. You were always laughing with him, that is unless you were just looking at him wondering if it was ok to laugh.
His KINDHEARTEDNESS was unmatched. He always had time for you. He always listened. Never just waiting to get his words in. He truly listened. He asked you questions. If need be he was there to tell you the hard truth, usually in such a way that you did not realize until later that you were probably being reprimanded too. His heart communicated in such a way that you really didn’t mind and knew you probably deserved it anyway.
He was an example of sacrificial LOVE. He loved his congregations with a vengeance. Even those you and I would probably label unlovable. The extremely cantankerous always knew they were loved and that he would always be there in their moment of crisis. He truly cared in a way that’s only possible through a deep and abiding relationship with almighty God, Jesus Christ. He always took care of Mimi, but never more tenderly than when she was dying. He never gave up hope. He loved all of us, that we never doubted.
He really believed the Gospel – the Good News. He was Jesus with skin on. I’ve never really liked that expression. For some reason to me it always sounded a little creepy. Not in this instance though. He exemplified grace and humility. He had an intense realization of the depth of sin which directly affected his realization of the depth of God’s love and amazing Grace.
A lifelong Democrat yet he never belittled those who believed differently. I did not say he didn’t tease, just never belittled. He would be bothered by today’s divisive political climate. He didn’t believe you had to vote a certain way if you were a Christian. He believed that because of God’s great grace and love, you are compelled to live a life of full of grace and love, thereby truly making a difference in our world. He would be the first to say when we put our hope in a political candidate, we lose. Our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. With that realization you are also compelled to live a life of gratitude & joy. He lived that life. His life was truly honoring to God.
**I had the wonderful honor of returning with Sam to the Church of his childhood in Danville, Illinois recently. Here his Dad pastored for many, many years and also built their current sanctuary. They were celebrating their 100 year anniversary. It was very bitter/sweet for Sam. He loved seeing so many people he had not seen for literally decades. We laughed and cried when they shared story after story of how much his Dad meant to them. Repeatedly we heard how Paw Paw loved everyone-without exception. If they were homeless, from the ‘hood’ (and small town Danville had one apparently) or multi-millionaires, he treated everyone the same and gave them the same respect and love. This has challenged both of us to live (more intentionally) a life of worship & joy for the God who loves us even more than we can fathom. Our hearts are full.
Ciao for now.