Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I wish I had known him better

I went to a funeral today.  I walked in without a tissue because I didn't know him terribly well and didn't even think about crying.  Now, I'm not sure why I didn't plan better since it would be a miracle if I didn't cry even if I had never met him.  Weddings, funerals, baptisms, school programs, 8th grade orientation, ok, pretty much anything, I might cry...

So, I cried.  I didn't cry for loss because, as I said I hadn't know him that long.  I cried because it was sweet.  I cried because he lived a life that made a difference and you could tell by the people who spoke about him.  He loved Jesus and  they celebrated that.  They told stories of a wonderful man who loved life so much that all the people who knew him seemed to have no choice but to have that same love.
I felt so proud for his children to hear what they already knew.  And I imagined how proud they must have been to be his child....It made me sad I didn't know all about him or know him longer...

Let me tell you how we met. 

One night shortly after moving to Lubbock an older gentleman called and inquired about who we were and did we spell our name the same as his... We had visited a church and someone there saw our unusual last name and decided we must be related to his friend so he called and gave him our phone number.  I was quickly learning that we had moved to a smaller town.

We did have the same last name and of course, my husband wasn't home to talk to him.  So between me naming the few in-law's I knew and him talking about some, we discovered that he and my husband were cousins.  His grandfather was also my husbands great grandfather.  That grandfather had a millon (or 17) kids so it's no wonder that they don't all know each other. 
A couple of weeks later, he called again.  This time he did visit with Mike and they discussed all the family.  He lived about an hour from here and we talked about going to visit him sometime...
He continued to call us about every two weeks "just to check on us".... Mostly talking to me.  He was a charming man and easy to talk to and with every conversation I learned more about him and his family. 

Several months into this he called to tell me that he and his wife had moved to Lubbock to an assited living apartment.  This is the first time I realized how old he was.  He certainly didn't sound that old.

Since they were right here in town, about a mile away actually, I made Mike and the kids come with me to meet them. 
There were the grandparent type people who made you feel like family from the first time you met them.  He was so interesting to talk to that Mike loved to go and sit and just visit with him.  He told him all about their grandfather.  He told him WWII stories.  He had been mayor of Plainview for years, he owned a business, he had children that he was so proud of... we enjoyed all the stories. 

We continued going to visit on a regular basis, enjoying every visit and every story.  We knew they appreciated the visits but we were doing it for us.  I'm thankful that we got to know him for a little while.  I'm amazed how much I learned about him today. 

I hope that one day I've left that sort of impression on people, on my kids, that I've made a differnce and lived for Jesus like he did.

I look forward to visiting with you again one day Gene.


Jennifer said...

This made me cry.

What a precious gift his life was to you and your family.

And what a comfort to know that you will see him again.


Debbie said...

What a lovely, lovely post and a wonderful tribute to that gentleman.