Two weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to perhaps the godliest man I’ve ever known – my Papa. Papa faithfully studied the word daily, and he was a man of prayer. He was an incredibly humble man – he would serve others and tell them not to tell anyone what he did because he wanted the Lord to receive the glory. Even since his death, my Nan Nan has shared with me how she continues to learn of acts of service he did for others, things we never knew he did. Papa was a man of great joy. You didn’t have to be around him long to realize he had an incredible sense of humor. Every Christmas since I was in the seventh grade, I gave him a gag gift. He always knew how to make me smile. Papa leaves behind an incredible legacy – both of his children, all six of his grandchildren and his great-grandchild all have a growing relationship with Christ. I never really thought about how blessed I’ve been before his funeral. He was my Papa – I loved him dearly. I now realize that not everyone has had the same godly example that we’ve had. I thank God that Papa was ours! He and Nan Nan had a marriage that was built on the Word. They taught me about commitment, not only with their words, but with their actions. I learned more about marriage as I watched them together the last month of Papa’s life. After almost 57 years of marriage, they still held hands. They weren’t merely two people who shared the same home – they shared so much more! Nan Nan was truly a servant as she cared for Papa in the final weeks of his life. She laid aside her own wants and desires to be with Papa. She went above and beyond to love him during his time of sickness. Though it was exhausting, and at times frustrating, she never wavered. She kept trusting the Lord and loved Papa with an agape (unconditional) love. All my life, I’ve watched Nan Nan as she seeks to live a righteous life. I stand amazed at her strength and her faith. I see God in her life, and I pray that I will experience the depth of faith that I see in her.
I thank God so much for my family. We have been incredibly blessed to have each other, and I pray that I never take that for granted. Just before Papa passed away, I wrote a poem in his honor. I’d like to share it with you: To Papa You had a way of making people smile.
At church you always offered to sing
Thankfully, God spared us this horrible thing.
We never knew what you would say
You asked the pastor, “Where’s the beef?”
In a wedding one day!
Let’s not forget your sense of style
Mismatched shoes and Nan Nan’s coat
You’d laugh it off and make a joke.
I’d hide in your truck, afraid of the cows
I’d be really quiet and not make a peep
For you told me little girls they like to eat.
Clonk shuu, clonk shuu!
We’d hear from your chair, “I don’t snore do I Little Doug?”
Nah, you just growled like a bear
Christmas was my favorite time spent with you.
On its Eve we’d drive and look at lights
One year I was sick
And Santa came to visit me that night
“Let’s hurry and open presents before Paul and Abigail get here!”
“That better not be another gag gift,” you would say
As you opened your last present
Each Christmas Day!
In the morning when I would rise
“Did you wake up sleepyhead?” you would say.
While reading your Bible or bowing your head to pray.
You walked by faith and not by sight
You lived a good life and fought the good fight.
You left a legacy for us to follow
Pray for us as we face each tomorrow.
We love you!