Reflecting on Granddaddy’s life the morning after he passed away, these words which Paul wrote to the Philippians came to me:
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.…Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (Philippians 2:1-4, 14-16)
This captures some sense of the kind of selfless love Granddaddy exemplified every day. There are so many good words that could be (and have been) used to describe his extraordinary life and all he accomplished, but I think one of the best I’ve heard is simply “unselfish.” Everything he did and gave his life for was motivated by this unselfish love and care for others, and that God might get the glory, not just in the victories—of which there abound so countless many—but also in the pain, in the trials, in the sufferings.
To Granddaddy and Grandmama: As your grandchildren and as third generation members of this church community, we are committed with our whole lives to making your joy complete, to honoring God and to honoring the sacrifice you’ve made by loving and serving—even in the seemingly mundane, inglorious, unseen ways—with the same unselfish attitude you’ve embodied every day. May our lives fulfill the small, undeserved part God has granted us in proving that your labors and your race are not in vain.
We love you both beyond words and, Granddaddy, we miss you immensely.
Isaac & Helen