Oaks Of Splendor

Sharing My Life's Story And Things That Inspire Me

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#70for70Project : A Funeral Speech For Uncle Jack

Nahum 1:7  

The Lord is Good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who Trust in him.

I am not sure if anyone is familiar with the book of Nahum. It is a small book in the bible, and the message is mostly about the destruction of Nineveh. Then among the all the talk of destruction, there is this shot simple verse. It has always been a reminder to me how God’s goodness and love is there even among the hardest moments in life’s journey. And so, my hope is we can all find comfort in the goodness of God as we gather today to mourn the loss of a beloved Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Uncle, and friend.

Not only do I stand before you in mourning, saddened by all the unrealized moments my Uncle Jack will never get to have. I also stand here today in celebration of the life he lived. For me, as I imagine many of you will agree, Uncle Jack was always the type of person you noticed. When he entered the room, it was always with great declaration that he had arrived. He had a way to lighten the mood no matter what the circumstance. The one thing I will remember most, about my Uncle, is his humor. I could always expect lots of laughter when I would spend time with my Uncle Jack and the rest of the family. I view this as one of his many talents and gifts. He had such a love of life, and never seemed to take things too seriously. He also had a great laugh. I unfortunately have not been given the talents he had for telling a great joke, and as much as I would want to tell a joke right now, to lighten the mood. I am fresh out. You are in luck however, because I have a different kind of talent which God has given me. It is with great pleasure I share it with you now.

One of the things that often happens when you experience the loss of a loved one, is you find anger with the fact that such a good person has passed away. You might even question, why God would take such a kind loving soul, and did not give him more time. I know after I had the opportunity to see my Uncle on Easter Sunday, I set aside time to pray for a miracle. I am a person who strongly believes in the possibility of miracles. I know there are people who have had all kinds of afflictions, only to be cured by god’s grace in the last hour of need. So, as I prayed for God to send a miracle to my Uncle Jack; God in his infinite wisdom and grace shared with me how Jack had already been given two miracles.  His miracles are his wife Stacy and their beloved daughter Allie Jo. I was reminded in my solitude of prayer, how Jack had always wanted to find someone special to share his life with and to start a family. Although, I did not get the opportunity to see how Jack interacted with his daughter as a father. I know in my heart he was a great dad, because for me and my siblings he had always been such a great Uncle.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

 And so, one of the talents which God has given me has been the gift of dreams or visions. As I was still in the presence of my savior, praying for my Uncle. I had a vision of Jack sitting by the water. He was looking out towards the sun – rising in the distance, and the light’s reflection twinkled with delight. As I looked deeper into the bright shining sun, Jesus stepped out of the light and towards Jack. He then reached out his hand, and Jack stood up. No longer was he weary, but standing tall in the presence of God. He took the hand of the Lord and walked into the light. I know in my heart Uncle Jack is now telling his great jokes in heaven, and God is delighted with his child.

Isaiah 40:31 

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.



Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 3: Why Thanksgiving is the Secret Ingredient

Once you start shifting you attitude in a life filled with thanksgiving, you will notice things in your life start to take a new form. It becomes something  you know but don’t recognize as much. I mean to thing  you start saying is thank you for loosing your job, for not being able to get a new cell phone you thought you needed, to say thank you for the fact  a relationship you thought was going to lead to marriage is over. You even say thank you that you once threw out a rotten banana only to slip and fall. You start realizing  the days you thought to be grey and gloomy were really the moments that God was using to transform you. You over come all of that sticky life stuff only to come to where you are now, and hope this season of thanksgiving brings will help to awaken you to the glory of who you are. You are strong and beautiful, and even when your life is not like you want it to be or imagine it to be there is opportunity. You have a rainbow standing right before you to choose, and to seek what is next.

Living in thanksgiving everyday leads to more optimism, which (lets just break it down) is hope. When you are hopeful tomorrow will be filled with the endless possibilities, you can face a flat tire and say OK. It’s flat today but I know it can get fixed and tomorrow I will be driving down the road again. Life sometimes is filled with these moments. The secret  I found in my journey to my own discovery of truth, only proves thanksgiving is not just one day a year, but really 365 days a year.

My dad died when I was in college and it effected me beyond anything else had up to that point. I would say it effect me even more than my parents divorce and not seeing my father for fifteen years before we got the phone call he was dying form cancer. It was the day of thanksgiving actually. I could forever associate such a great holiday with such sadness, but I don’t. Instead I live the moment in thanksgiving. I might not have gotten the chance to say goodbye to the man who was my father if it hadn’t been for a few circumstances leading up to that moment. In September of the same year I had changed colleges. I chose to transfer back in state for many different reasons, but ultimately it was because I truly felt like it was the right choice, the choice that God wanted me to make. The thing about transferring was all of a sudden I found myself living close to my family, actually the same town as my grandparents. I went to church, lunch, and laundry every Sunday. I was also able to be with them all for Thanksgiving Day, when we got the call from my Aunt (my dad’s sister), saying that he was really sick and dying. She was the only family from his side who stayed in contact with me and my younger brother. She mentioned he had asked to see us, and wanted to know if we wanted the same. See if I hadn’t of transferred, I wouldn’t have been so close when all of this happened. I had originally been going to school six hours away, and the school had a absence policy that basically meant you couldn’t really miss any classes. I know they would not have been as understanding about missing finals for my father’s funeral. I know this because a friend my freshman year had lost her father to a heart-attack during midterms, and she basically had to drop out for the semester and return a year later. Part of that was due to the schools policy on missing classes. At my new college when I told the director of my department what was going on before I took off to fly to New Jersey  in order to see my dad before he passed away. Well, she basically said if you need anything let me know, she would inform all my professors. And don’t worry about work missed she would make sure I got it later. Also I had only taken two finals when I got the call he had passed away and since we needed to fly back for the funeral service, she basically was OK with me taking several in-completes. Then allowed me to take the finals the beginning of the next semester when I got back from break.

So, I live in thanksgiving that the choices and direction my left was heading leading up to such a tragic moment in my life, was all set into place for the best out come. Now when I think of the holiday I am not sad and mournful because it was a time when I found out my dad was sick. Instead it was a time when I was able to share forgiveness with my father. I was also able to understand how much my father did love me despite all the years of separation.

1st Timothy 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving