Today has been a roller coaster... hours passed in the blink of an eye after he died. Family and friends gathered within minutes of his death, calls were made, meetings arranged, food was brought, tears were shed... and God held us together through it all. It's 1 am and I'm still wide awake though about 6pm I wanted to take a nap. Thankfully I'll be here with my family until Friday when I return to Birmingham... so I have a few days to rest before returning to work...
So many thoughts ran through my head today after pawpaw died... All morning he stared at the ceiling. For the hour and a half I was at his house before he died his gaze did not waiver, not even when I went to talk to him. As I sit here tonight and reflect on that it reminds me of this verse:
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18
Pawpaw had his eyes fixed on something that you and I can't see. I truly believe that until you are at a point of death, you cannot invision eternity... but he had it in his sights and he welcomed it as the time came, and I know that he had a heck of a welcoming committee. I know that Daddy was right there in the front waiting on him... showing him around his new neighborhood... and now he knows if there are any lawnmowers. :) He reunited with his brothers, his parents, and old friends... for him it was a celebration. Which makes me think of a conversation I had on the gallery (front porch) today with a family friend... The bible says we should Celebrate death and mourn life, but we as humans totally screw that one up... we get it backward because we don't have a constant eternal outlook. As I read through these few verses in Ecclesiastes 7, I really had to think hard on of a few of them... read for yourself and see what you think:
1 A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.
(What reputation are you leaving behind on your day of death?)
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of every man;
the living should take this to heart.
(Death is your destiny... so it would be a good idea to go ahead and make a reservation at your eternal resting place... all it takes is a talk with God)
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
because a sad face is good for the heart.
(this one... not so sure about. I think sorrow builds character, sorrow helps you to realize what you can deal with, but is also helps you to cherish those happy moments when they come around. Not too sure what is meant by this verse... but maybe part of it is that being sad helps you to realize what is important, which is good for you heart.)
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
(recognize the importance of mourning, the significance of death... otherwise you may not make the eternal decisions you need to).
So, Heaven got a another good one today, and a good one he was. It would take hours, days, weeks, for me to sit here and type out all of my memories of Pawpaw... and I can't say I have one bad memory. Since daddy died I sought advice from him in a lot of things... he may have only had a 2nd grade education... but his knowledge of life could not be captured in one book. I honestly don't know one person who would have a negative things to say about him... he didn't just have a good name... he had an excellent one. I spent so much time with him as a kid that most of my best memories involve him. Not many kids are lucky enough to live next door to their grandparents... but I did, and God I am so thankful to you for that. Because no matter where I may go across this planet... the lessons he taught me at home are the ones that will stick with me the most. Before I left for my semester in mexico pawpaw gave me the following advice... and it is something that can apply to each and every one of us:
"Remember who you are,
what you are,
and where you're from."
- Pawpaw Cole
I think if we can remember those things... we can always be grounded.
Thank you Pawpaw... for keeping me grounded, being my biggest supporter, being a great example of service and love for others, being the person I admired most in the world, and for being the best grandfather that any kid could ever ask for. Your attitude for serving others has influenced me so much, you gave me an example of how doing things for others is fulfilling, and if done with the right attitude is one of the most rewarding experiences of life. I am a better person for knowing you, and you helped to make me into the person that I am. I hope that I made you proud because loving you has been one of the most important things in my life.
God, thanks for matching me with the perfect grandfather and blessing me with the opportunity to live next door to him for 18 years of my life. I wouldn't trade those memories and lessons for anything in this world. I praise You for having mercy on him and bringing him into Your arms before he began suffering on this earth. Thank you for Pawpaw... for making him who he was so he could influence me to be who I am.
Keep us in your prayers friends... we are all thankful that Pawpaw is at rest now, but going through the emotions of a funeral are all too familiar for us. The next few days are going to be hard, but I know God will bring comfort to us as only He can.
I Love Y'all,