I just learned that a dear uncle, Uncle Freddie, has passed away. He was older and ailing. It was his time. He died sitting at his table, seemingly at peace, with no signs of pain or discomfort. Most importantly, he died knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Uncle Freddie lived very simply compared to most of us. He knew that life wasn’t about stuff, but was about the stuff of life. People were more important than possessions. Giving was more important than getting. His happiness was found by making others happy.
I mentioned that he left this earth knowing Jesus as his Lord and Savior, but that just happened in recent years. His mother, my grandmother, was a woman of deep faith. Uncle Freddie, though, didn’t use to acknowledge his beliefs, or possible lack thereof. For years he made no mention of God, Jesus, or church. He made no responses to my inquiries about his beliefs.
Then along came a trusted friend in his life, someone like a daughter to him, who took him in and started taking him to church. As Uncle Freddie put it, he “gave his heart to Jesus” at church on his mother’s birthday while his favorite hymn was playing. This happened just a few years ago. I’m so praising the dear friend who led him to that moment.
Uncle Freddie was my dad’s oldest sibling. My dad was the baby of the family. He died when I was just a toddler. Uncle Freddie seems to have had a special fondness for my dad, because he saved letters my dad wrote from air force bases. Recently he sent some of those letters and photos of my dad and started telling me about my father.
I went for most of my life not being in touch with Uncle Freddie. He lived in West Virginia. I grew up in Indiana. Then one day I received a letter from him. That was the beginning of a special pen-pal bond that carried us through until this day. I will miss finding his letters in my mailbox.
May the good Lord bless his dear soul. Amen.