Friday, February 19, 2010


Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:10

I arrived in Wichita, Kansas the day after my grandfather "Pops" passed away peacefully after suffering a major stroke. Originally we'd scheduled our travel plans thinking we'd be going back there to care for him and for my grandma "Muma" because he didn't have a hospice nurse assigned to him, despite the fact that they'd sent him home to die.

He returned to the hospital Friday night after a nurse advised the family that his condo where he's lived for the past twenty years was unsafe. He died Saturday morning, peacefully, in his sleep, with his only son by his side.

On the plane ride to Kansas, a woman sitting by me said "Tell me about your grandfather..."

What spilled out were all amazing things and I realized I had not one negative trait to share. He fought in World War II in the battle at Normandy as well as four other major battles. He devoted his life to being a mortician because "some one's gotta do it". He made his seven children feel rich even though they didn't have a lot of money. He would pull his car over, get out and give money to a homeless man, not to be seen and recognized be anyone accept for our Father in heaven (I only know this because someone in the family saw him do it - he got caught). During the Vietnam War, he sponsored refugees to come over and get an education and citizenship. He had a list of all the birthdays of his children, their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (last I counted there were 71) and sent $20 bills faithfully every year.

Honestly I could go on and on. He was an amazing man. He was ready to go, for he had made it clear as long as my mom can remember that this world was not his home:*)

While I was in Kansas, I ended up sleeping in his bed. I loved feeling close to him since we hadn't made it in time to say good-bye face to face. When I went to bed that first night I reflected on just being there with the pictures and walls he'd looked at every day. There were numerous pictures of the crucifixion, Mary, as well as pictures of his children and family. I fell asleep wondering if I'd hear some sort of message from him or from God.

Then the next morning I woke up with that verse that above on my lips. Actually it's a song. I knew it was somewhere in the Psalms so I found Psalm 84. How amazing since he'd actually just had his first full day in heaven!

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.

Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;

the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty,

blessed is the man who trusts in you.


Megan said...

I'm so sorry he's left this earth, he sounds like he was amazing. Thankfully you'll meet him again some day in Heaven.


Shannon said...

Oh Jewel! What a gift to even get to "know" your Pops a tiny bit through your writing. What an awesome gift from God to have that song in yoru heart! I know that it must be incrediblly painful to know he is not here but what a beautiful, peaceful goodbye. Praying for you!


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