My Grandfather died this last week, and so we travelled to Nashville to lay him to rest. I think that's an appropriate term for this particular man - as he continued his life's work until he couldn't possibly continue it anymore. My granddad taught Hebrew and Psalms for 25+ years at Lipscomb University, & authored some biblical commentaries among other things. After after completing the studies towards his PhD at the Hebrew Union in Ohio, he was never awarded the doctorate he'd earned... ultimately because he wouldn't compromise his convictions about Christ in his thesis. As we went through his email, we noticed that his latest work was sent just about 3 weeks before he died - he was working on an online commentary on the book of Isaiah at the request of someone else, and had finished another chapter. Lots was said at the funeral about him- things I hadn't realized about him and some of his accomplishments. (When someone's your granddad - you don't always think to ask such things as he's important to you for other reasons.....) :-) My appreciation grew even more from meeting people who knew him differently than I did.
Eli really took in this reality more than he could before. As we walked into the same house we've been walking into all of his life, he noticed that it wasn't the same. Granddaddy's chair sat there, but others sat in it, and that seemed weird. His walker stood in the corner. His desk and library still looked as if he could come in any minute and sit down to study or write. His razor sat on the counter in the bathroom. We wouldn't want any of those things gone, but they didn't help us believe that he was.
The house was filled so as we left the first day to head to a relative's place, Eli was somber. I asked what he was thinking.
"It's just so sad. It's just not the same without him there. All I could think about was that it wasn't the same and it won't ever be the same."
We all got teary at the truthfulness of that statement.
"Well," she said, " All I could think about was ALL THAT FOOD!!"
We burst out laughing, (because indeed, there was a LOT of food!). And Eli once again so simply embraced another profound truth.
"I didn't think I would smile at that," he said awkwardly with tears still in his eyes. "But I did." :-)
Death has it's sting. But Christ is victory, and my Grandad fully embraced Christ.
The night following his funeral, I overheard Eli praying. He said, "... God, most of the time people spend their whole life trying to make the world think that they are somebody important. But Granddaddy Miller spent his whole life trying to help the world see that You are important."
This was the absolute truth. He accomplished the goal of his life among his family and many others.
And now, his generations that follow are attempting to do the same.
A passage from his favorite Psalm of all...
"But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts....Psalm 103: 17-18