This weekend my family and I celebrated the life and mourned the death of my Uncle Robert. The Staples family gave me the great responsibility of co-leading the funeral service with another local pastor. I wrote the eulogy and sang both “It is Well with My Soul” and “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks.” I was overwhelmed through the whole process. Ever try singing at a funeral of a dearly loved one? I believe God strengthened me to be able to comfort the family and also challenge them to re-evaluate their love towards each other and their love for God.
Uncle Robert was a special man and I had the huge privilege of spending lots of time with him when I was a young child. My mother was his legal guardian after my grandfather passed away because Robert was born mentally retarded. I never met my grandfather, but my mom says I caught glimpses in Uncle Robert’s sense of humor and generosity towards others. Even when I was a teenager he’d come to visit my family even though we had moved to Maine. We’d go for rides in the “Maine Woods” looking for moose. For years, when he’d call on Thurdsay nights, he’d always check to see if we’d seen any moose lately! He loved matchbox cars, remote controlled trucks, real Jeeps, and anything that would go through mud! It’s not too often that your grown Uncle would be as passionate as you in the toy aisle! But that is what made him special–he never lost his childlike nature. You couldn’t help but laugh if you were around him. You’d even forget, if only for a minute, all those things nagging for your attention and sapping you of joy. Without us even knowing it, Uncle Robert taught us how to love and how God intends for our joy to increase as we truly love one another.