Week 21 ~ March 30, 2003
It's Sunday night, a little later than usual for me to write my weekly update, but we've been away for the past several days. Karl's grandfather, Thomas Burt Evans, died on Monday, March 24. He was 92 years old. He was a Christian missionary in El Salvador and a pastor to many churches in Washington state and in Michigan. For the last few years, he's lived near us with Karl's parents.
There was a small family service in a Lynchburg funeral home on Tuesday, the day after he died. We brought Ana to the service. Ana loved her great-grampy, who until just a couple of months ago, could lift her from the floor and into his arms to read her a story. For months, when we pray with Ana at night, she has reminded us to pray for him. I wonder if somehow she knows that he prayed for her everyday, too!
His funeral was Saturday in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the last church where he pastored, just eight years ago. Several hundred people attended. We left Ana with my mother for the weekend, while we went to calling hours at the funeral home, the funeral, the reception and the family graveside service next to the space where his wife Vesta was buried six years ago. Then we enjoyed reuniting with family from far and near, the way you do at a wedding or funeral, when everybody is together at once.
A favorite poem of his was entitled, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day," and he never "preached" one to anybody. It's one thing to hear a person preach about Jesus Christ of the Bible; it's another to find one who has fallen on his knees in front of him and fallen in love with him, and Grampa was the genuine article. His love for Jesus never left him. His words flowed naturally from seventy years of prayer, meditation and lovingly reading the Bible until the wisdom and hope of its words became his own. He was compassionate, gentle, and so humble. There are people like him in the world - one of them being my own grandfather, who died last year, who have been so taken with Jesus Christ, and love him so much, that they talk about him like a personal friend who is sitting in the same room with us. They don't just have a religion, they have a PERSON, God, in whom all their faith and hope lives. They know him.
These words from the Bible were printed on his funeral bulletin: "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will not be shaken." (Psalm 62:5-6) Grampa could say those words because it was the truth. He didn't preach them at anyone; it was just a basic fact of his life, and for that reason he was at peace throughout his last illness, liver cancer, which he knew would take his life. When I think about the "what ifs" of my own life, especially as I make my way through this pregnancy, and we all make our way through this current war, I feel so fortunate that I have Grampa to think of when I read those words, not because he quoted them to me, but because he believed them and helps me to believe them.
Baby seems to be doing fine, I'm feeling a little more movement but still no jabs or kicks. Wait--I think I just felt one! :) And I seem to be gaining even a little more energy back. I think the ligaments and tendons in my stomach area are starting to feel a little stretched, I hope they know that they've got a long way to go and a lot more stretching before this is all over!