Sunday, November 7, 2010

Part of a Bigger Picture

He's known as Mr. Bill, "grandpa" to her. I never knew Mr. Bill. Well, we never met face to face. But, me and Mr. Bill, we're kindred spirits. Late on October 31st, this ninety-two year old World War II Veteran went home to be with Jesus. He waited a long time to meet his first Love.

I went to be there for her, my best friend. Saying "goodbye for now" is a hard thing to do...this I know too well. She was there when I had to say goodbye, so I wanted to be there when she had to say goodbye. I thought that was the only reason I was meant to go...I had no idea that Mr. Bill would teach me something, without a word. Just like she did.

The service was one of the most beautiful I've seen. Hope was written all over their faces..Hope of being together again with this man, this father, this grandfather, this friend. The words spoken for this man were not empty, like most funerals I've seen. It wasn't a sad day, but a joyful day! Tears flowed down my cheeks because the promise of Heaven for this man was sure. We all knew it. It's rare to see someone love Jesus like this man. This gentle soul who lived a simple life, yet loved with all he had. I see God in the legacy of this man. This man that never spoke a word to me, yet he'll be a lifelong friend of mine. We love the same Lord. Our hearts both beat for this man named Jesus. And one day, one day I'll get to meet him face to face.

I rejoiced for this man, my brother in Christ because he gets to be where there's no more pain, no more tears, no more physical ailments that come with having lived ninety-two years on this earth.

Saying goodbye to someone whose lived ninety-two good, long years is bittersweet. Bitter because you miss his presence, yet sweet because he's brand new. As I sat listening to all the kind words spoken for this man that fought for his country and fought in the army of the Lord and I saw pictures of his life on the big screen, my mind takes me back to the last funeral I went to, seven and a half months ago. And the fact that ninety-two years are between this man and my little girl seems so unfair. It seems like he got a chance at life, she didn't. Was she not as important as him? I listened to story after story and got to know this man.

For him, we grieve all that was. For her, we grieve all that will never be.

Yet, each life is sacred, precious to Him. Each life was set-apart for the purposes of the Lord and it doesn't matter what I want or what any of us want. We are only called to fulfill His will for us, whether that takes nine months in the womb or ninety-two years on the earth. We're all part of a bigger picture. And without a word, they have both taught me so much.

"I praise You because (Mr. Bill and Lily) are fearfully and wonderfully made;
   Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

My friend Kala shared this at her grandpa, Mr. Bill's, funeral:

A short time ago, or maybe a long time ago (time feels different here), God let me be part of a blessed conversation that would offer comfort and peace, and laughter and tears. It happened in my grandfather's living room. Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Daniel, Thomas and I were sitting in Grandpa's home. We were talking about the new floors he just had put in to that old house. I can recall the words renting and selling; or we could have been talking about something else, but that’s not the part I remember. And then my grandpa said, “Well, you know; when I leave here, ya’ll can rent out the house, you might be able to get something out of it.”
“Leave? Well, where are you going?” My mom said. My grandpa just looked at her. He looked at us all.
Like the answer to that question had already been carved into his heart and pumped through his veins with every new breathe he took.
"Where am I going?" He stated, matter-of-factly, finger pointed upward to the Heavens “Well, I'm goin' Up Yonder!” And we all laughed and today I smile and cry, because God gave this conversation to us to remember on this day.
But sometimes it’s hard to look at situations like these and hear words put together by people who might not understand, for a purpose they probably don't fully grasp (I know I don't), when they say “He’s in a better place,” and then I'm supposed tell my mind and my heart that today is a day to rejoice. Because we are earthly-minded creatures by disease. And somewhere in between life and death; love happened. Love happened to us all and we are left forever changed. And now it’s gone. And what’s left feels like an empty house that was once filled with children and grandchildren and family and LOVE. But now it’s empty, empty but overflowing with memories and feelings of times past, all these that we hold on to, while simultaneously realizing that nothing will be the same as it was.
But God stops me where I'm at, for I am weak. And then He comes to me and says, "Let me carry it for you. I will show you the way." And then I start to realize that I was not meant for earthy-mindedness, but to become spiritually-minded. To put my eyes to the things of God. To recognize that today is the greatest day that grandpa’s soul has ever seen. And I know that there’s a great party up yonder to welcome him home. And I can see my grandma with her new and perfect eyes, taking his hand and placing it in the hand of Jesus, his eyes fixated on the radiating Light. And Jesus walks with him, and places it in the Hand of the Father. And with his new and perfect ears, grandpa hears the whisper, “Welcome home, beloved son, welcome home”.

A rose and lily from Grandpa Bill's funeral



  1. Lovely, HR and KB. Simply lovely. :) Wish I could have been there for Grandpa Bill's homegoing celebration! Knowing I will meet him up yonder one day is a great joy!

  2. I'm so glad you were able to go with her, and process this yourself too.


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