There are people in life who know no strangers. They are the kind of people who have a knack for meeting others and instantly becoming friends with just about anyone. You know, the kind of people who are comfortable conversing with anyone about anything. I am often envious of people with these kinds of abilities, for I know that I am far too guarded and standoffish with people I don’t know. It is very difficult for me to converse with someone I have just met. I say all of this, because I once knew someone with such envious characteristics. This morning, I said goodbye to that someone as I attended the funeral of a very dear man, who with his wife, has been a great encouragement in my life over the past few years. He was a kind, loving, faithful, warm, friendly soul who knew no stranger. He loved people, and he truly cared about the individual wellbeing of those he came in contact with.
I struggled with sharing any of these thoughts on my blog tonight, but my blog is about more than DIY projects, house updates and fun outings with my husband. I started this blog to journal different events, both small and great, that occur in my life….every aspect of my life. Tonight I briefly wanted to write this entry, not so much for my readers but for my own consolation, reflecting on the life a man who showed me Christ-like love at a time in my life, where if I’m honest with myself, I was a little bit lonely and needed that love.
I first met this dear man and his wife at my church when I moved out on my own and started teaching. It’s no secret to those who know me that I don’t always give the best first impressions. I am very much an introvert and don’t always enjoy being social with others. When people try to converse with me, I am polite and converse back, but it’s not always with ease. Upon meeting this man who I speak of tonight, he and his wife decided that they were determined to get to know me more, so they started inviting me over to their home for Sunday lunches in between morning and evening church services. These lunches nearly became a weekly event for a couple of years while I was living in an apartment that came with a lengthy drive to our church. Before I knew it, the man who talked my ear off on Sunday afternoons, and eventually I his, had wiggled his way into my life and heart.
As time passed and marriage, a new home and the busyness of life no longer called for weekly lunches, this sweet couple still remained grandparent-like figures in my life. Any news in my life that I shared with my parents, I also made a point to share with them. When I met my husband, I went to them for wisdom. When I married my husband, they were one of the few non-family members invited to the ceremony. When we bought our new home, they were one of the first to celebrate with us. Any job transition that Matt and I were going through, they were one of the first to know and pray with us. If the Lord sees fit for Matt and I to grow a family, they would be one of the first to know and celebrate with us. As a result of their persistent effort to get to know me as an individual, they became two of my very favorite people to be around.
While I'm taking time to reflect on my memories of a man who had a lasting impact on my life, let it be known that I'm not seeking sympathy as I write tonight. Furthemore, as I conclude this blog entry I must say that I don’t really feel sad for him or the loss of him. He was very sick, and I know that he was ready for the death of this life. I do, however, feel great empathy for his wife of over fifty years. I can’t image what it must be like to share a life with someone for that long, and then to one day wake up to a life where that someone no longer physically exists. I am filled with great sorrow when I think of this, but I am reassured that God’s grace is sufficient to those who love Him. The few tears that I have shed over his loss are for his family, not for him, for I know he is in a far better place tonight. To love his wife and family the way he did, I know leaves them with a great void in this present time. He will greatly be missed by those he loved, but at the same time my faith assures me that I will see him again someday. Someday, when my life on earth has passed, I look forward to being in his presence once again. Until then, the memories I hold of him bring a warm smile to my face and will always have a special place in my heart.