I just got back a few days ago from a trip to Michigan. While this isn’t that unusual for me to go and see my family, this last trip was prompted by the news that my Uncle Rob had passed away.
About two years ago my Uncle Rob, who was fully healthy and on four summer softball leagues, came down with a mysterious disease that slowly began to paralyze the use of certain muscles in his body. As the disease quickly progressed, eight months later he was wheelchair bound and completely dependent on others for help. Having lost his ability to walk, talk, and breathe on his own, no doctor could find the mystery to this illness. About 10 days ago he had a stroke and in the days that followed his health deteriorated, and he passed away.
The following days after hearing the news, I got an airplane ticket and made my way to Michigan where I was able to attend the memorial service for my Uncle and play my violin in his honor. It was mixed emotions, because I was sad that my favorite Uncle was gone, but at the same time he was beholding the joy and glory of heaven; which is something I will live my days dreaming about until I myself behold the beauty of God face to face.
My uncle had so many people that came to celebrate his life, and shared memories of my uncle’s selfless character. He was a giving man who was rather simple, and patient. One friend of 24 years mentioned how he never complained to him, something I truly admire. A friend, in 24 years, never heard him complain. It was abundantly clear to everyone in attendance that he was a good friend, a great father, and that he loved the Lord.
I can hear my uncle’s voice, “Hey Code!”
Growing up, when I was over at my uncle’s house visiting and hanging out with my cousins, (which was 2-3 times per week from the day I got my drivers license to the day I left Michigan at 20 years old,) I can still hear my uncle’s voice in my head saying, “Hey Code.” It was his way of saying that he loved me and that the house was an open door to me. I didn’t need a huge hug or an explanation of the fact that I could help myself to whatever was in the fridge, cause that was a given. When I was thinking about my uncle, I realized how he taught me something so valuable about who Jesus is, and something that very few people in my life have taught me through example. Jesus is accessible.
You see, He loves to be around us, and everything He has is available to us. What an awesome lesson of the Father’s love, a piece of which was demonstrated by my uncle. Rob was teaching me something, and serving as a place-holder in my heart while I was young man, so that when I came of age, I would realize a new facet of who Jesus is. I needed an example of that aspect of who Jesus is in my life, and the Lord knew that as He left this earth, it would in turn help me on my walk and my journey to find Him.
So, to my Uncle Rob, who is enjoying the vastness and majesty of Heaven; I love you. Thank you for your awesome yet simple example of reflecting Jesus onto my life. You learned to love well, and I undoubtedly know that the Father gave you a big fat ‘well done son,’ as you took your first steps into eternity. Can't look to hear a good ol' "Hey Code," when I see you again.
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