Larry

4 09 2016

Larry came over to our table to say hello and greet us with the large grin he seemed to wear Rock _nall the time.  After a few cordial words to each other he stopped and a sober look came over his face, one like I had never seen before.  “I suppose you heard I have liver cancer and there’s nothing they can do for me.”  Of course we were taken back as he continued; “I’m going to be okay, I just worry about leaving my wife; but I’m sure the Lord’s got that worked out without me,” once again the smile returning to his face. As he walked away I thought not only what I heard from Larry, but what I saw.  Moments earlier he had been sitting with friends at their favorite restaurant where they met after Sunday church service, laughing, joking and having a good time is such a way no one watching could tell anything was wrong.

I then thought about all the years I knew Larry and the kind of man he was. There was never a work crew assembled from the church that he wasn’t a part of. The number of families he had helped move with his truck was probably more than he could count.  Whenever we had folks at the church with hearing and speaking disabilities Larry, who was fluent in sign language, was there to translate and make them feel at home. Then there were all the mission trips, both domestic and to other countries where he tackled tasks like swinging a hammer, using a paint brush, clearing rocks out of a field or whatever else was needed.  Then there were the times we spent together camping and canoeing around Indiana with Larry and others, and the scenario was also the same for this man; active, happy.

It’s was a little more than a month later that we at the funeral home with literally hundreds of others to pay our respects to the family and say one last earthly goodbye to Larry who finally succumbed to this most hated disease called cancer. While there we visited with many folks, some we hadn’t seen in years. The mood was lighthearted with everyone we spoke to in the hour long line advancing toward the front to speak with the family. Even though his Lady and loved ones were saddened at his departure they still met us with smiles and stories that brought light laughter.  A strange thought came to my mind as we left the funeral home; “Death where is your sorrow, where is your sting?”

This man, servant, warrior for the Lord and “Traveler of the Rock Road” in his life and early death epitomized the very core and spirit of what I always say. “It’s not a religion, not a philosophy, not some fantasy dreamed up by an ancient writer; It is complete faith in a living God whose love for us is so immense that He created a way for all who believe to be with Him, in joy and happiness, forever!” Larry lived that faith every day of his life the way God wants us all to with purpose and happiness smiling at knowing what lies ahead. Awesome!

Generally, I have scripture or a quote from an author I admire, but today I’m going to close with the words written on the inside of Larry’s funeral notice.

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free

I’m following the path Gad laid for me,

I took His hand when I heard Him call

I turned my back and left it all.

***

I could not stay another day

To laugh, to love, to work, to play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way

I found that place at the close of the day

***

If my parting has left a void

Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,

Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

***

Be not burdened with times of sorrow.

I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life’s been full, I savored much.

Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

***

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;

Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief

Lift up your heart and share with me

God wanted me now, He set me free.

 Same old Larry, still working for His Lord right up to the last, then smiling all way into Glory!

See ya next time.

 


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