Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday PawPaw

My Paw Paw and I
Thanks to Facebook, many of you know that my Paw Paw went home to be with the Lord on June 15th.  It was eleven years ago on that same day that my dear friend Katie passed away.  It made a hard day even harder, but in the midst of all of it I felt the closeness of the Lord.

It's been a week and a half now and I still don't really have the words to put in a blog post---but I do have the words that the Lord gave me to share at my Paw Paw's funeral.  Of course I've come up with a hundred other things I should have said and memories I had, but none the less this is what I felt led to share and I'll now share it with you.  Today.  The day in which my Paw Paw would have turned 75.  He had said he wanted to at least make it to 75 and he was just a week and a half short.  We don't always understand the Lords ways, but I do know His timing is perfect.  June 15th and all.

31 years later, Paw Paw and Jude
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Good Morning.  My name is Kristin McLendon and I am the daughter of Sandi Smith, Leroy’s youngest daughter.  I would like to just take a few moments to talk about my Paw Paw—the man that he was and the man that I pray my son will be like some day.

Paw Paw was a Man of character.  Webster defines character as having honesty, courage, and integrity….and my Paw Paw was a man of all of those things and more.  He was a good man.  A humble man.  A loving father, a devoted husband and a bend over backwards for you kind of  grandfather.  He was selfless and never put himself first.  He loved deeply.  He was giving of himself, his time and his skills.  He was strong yet sweet.  He had a way about him that you knew you were safe when you were with your PawPaw.

Secondly, he was a man of community.  He loved those that the Lord placed into his life.  Following my father’s retirement from the Air Force back in the early 90’s, we moved back home to the Savannah area.  Our family became friends with the Goodrich family early on and we discovered that we had a Paw Paw in our life and so did they.  It became evident pretty quickly that it was the same Paw Paw and those almost became fighting words. Who knew we had to share our Paw Paw, but he loved Amy and Jessica and cultivated a loving relationship with the Goodrichs in their Midway Napa Store.  I know that this is just one family that loved my Paw Paw as much as we do. But it’s a precious example of his capability to love and love well. 

And last and the most obvious, he was a man of family.  Every significant event in my life he was there.  From basketball games, to high school graduation.  To college graduation to sitting on the front row as I became a wife---he was there.  Even just three weeks ago we brought our new son here for the extended family to meet.  Paw Paw came with his travelling oxygen tank and on his way out the door I said thank you for coming Paw Paw…He looked me in the eye and said,  “I wouldn’t miss it for anything”…and that is how he lived his life.  You see he’d already met baby Jude as we came for a special trip when he was 6 weeks old just for Paw Paw to meet him…yet the family was gathering to meet Jude and he wouldn’t miss it for anything….just three weeks before he went home to the Lord. 

And now we rejoice because that is where he is.  When we first learned of this sickness, we prayed for healing.  I believe in Jesus—the man that heals and performs miracles still today and I was not afraid to ask my Jesus to heal my PawPaw.  And even though it does not look the way I would like it—my Paw Paw has received his complete healing now.  He’s received eternal life as God’s Word says in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”  PawPaw was a man that believed and now has eternal life.  Jesus has made him whole.  No more suffering. No more pain.  No more fighting for a breath.  No more disease.  He has been completely healed and in this we rejoice.   As much as we miss him here, he is in a much better place.

So PawPaw I just want to tell you that we love you.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for being a man that we could depend on and being a man that loved us deeply.  Thank you for being selfless and giving of yourself at all times.  Thank you for being a model in my life that I can look up to and strive to raise my son to walk as you walked.  We love you Paw Paw.  We miss you more than words can say, but today we rejoice with you as you dance and you sing and you drive heaven’s tractor like you never have before.

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Happy Birthday Paw Paw!  I love you and I miss you!

Paw Paw,  Jocelyn and I.

1 comment:

ACupBearer said...

Very nice, sweet one. You did a good job...