I hate Satan. I hate death. Our hearts and our souls were made for eternal relationships, and despite the fact that you were “ready to go,” my heart aches at your departure. It’s kind of surreal, actually, because death, as “natural” as it is, it is not something we were made for, and it’s not a permanent part of our lives. As you well know, Satan and death have been beaten, and in around 50 or 60 years, if not sooner, we will be together again. Such a short time in light of eternity, but I will miss you dearly until then.
Did you know you are my hero? The two words that come to mind when I think about you are love and faithfulness. Which, incidentally, are the two aspects of God’s character that have impacted me most. You wear them so well. No one who knew you could not be touched by your love. You were always so hospitable and welcoming, so generous, so kind and encouraging. You spoke life to everyone, and served selflessly. You know what it means to live a life of self-sacrifice, to lay down you rights for the sake of others, and to do so joyfully. You were always there. You could always be counted on. You bore your cross so well, and I have no doubt that last night you heard the “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and were embraced tenderly by our Savior.
You knew that love is the only eternal thing we can do on this earth, so we might as well do it as much and as fully as we can. You also knew, contrary to popular belief, that no one can truly, selflessly, love another person without first being filled up with Jesus’ love. You knew his love deeply, and it overflowed to touch us all.
Thank you for your patience, your endurance, your tenacity. I don’t think most people realize how strongly your stubborn Norwegian blood pumped through your veins. You never gave up, and you never gave in. I love hearing stories about my mom and aunts and especially my rough-and-tumble uncles growing up. To raise them and not have a single one of them turn out to be a criminal was a feat of strength in and of itself; to raise them all to be the wonderful human beings that they are is nothing short of a miracle.
Thank you for loving me so well. Thank you for coming to my soccer and volleyball games, to my incredibly boring horse shows and rodeos, to every single one of my piano, violin, voice recitals and choir concerts. Thank you for always encouraging me to follow Jesus whole-heartedly. Thank you for all the delicious food you made for us over the years–on holidays, during family reunions, and times in between. Thank you for teaching me to make lefse. I’m so thankful we made time to do that this Christmas. Thank you for all the wonderful times up at the cabin and on the Stillwater and at your house with the family. I cherish those memories. Thank you for your example of a Christ-centered life. I hope that I am still taking in teenagers who need homes when I am eighty-one years old. Thank you for being my place of Shalom. Thank you for praying for me every single day. You have no idea how much God has answered those prayers. I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you again. Give Grandpa and Jesus a big hug for me.