Monday, November 24, 2008

Uncle Mark

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Obviously, I have not seen Christ, but I have seen pictures created by artists. As beautiful as these images are, they do not compare to the experience of seeing Him face to face. When we finally see Him face to face, all our suffering will be gone…all our worry, pain, doubt, anxiety, fear, depression, and darkness shall have passed away.
Born into a hard-working rural south Georgia family, my Uncle Mark would know the struggles of farm life early on. His eyes may not have seen the world like some of the other family, having been born legally blind, but I believe he had a clear view of what mattered in life. He lived simply, loved Jesus, had a good sense of humor, was gentle, kind, and had a big heart for others.
Last night when I saw his body lying in the casket dressed in denim overalls, his straw cowboy hat lain carefully on his breast, through my tears I smiled.
Because I remembered the many times as a little girl I followed him around on that farm. I was always astonished at how quickly he could figure math in his head, no pencil or pad needed.
Because I remembered how he managed to care for those stinky, squealing pigs with limited eyesight and how I couldn't help but laugh each time when he got mad at their stubborness, muttering under his breath.
Because I remembered it was in his bedroom that I first heard Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner sing on his 8-track player.
Because I remembered he actually drove a truck with me by his side, guiding him along the dirt roads on the farm (and sometimes venturing onto the paved ones). Me, too young to take the wheel, directing my Uncle Mark as he sat behind the wheel of that truck saying, 'now slow down, there's a stop sign coming up, ok, now stop' ... or, 'veer to the right a little, ok, now turn ...'
We were living dangerously!
But, mostly I smiled because I know he is home. No more worry, pain, doubt, anxiety, or fear. It's gone.
There is a quote, by John Milton that goes "To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable."
Uncle Mark bore his blindness and everything else he was dealt in this life with humility, grace and quiet strength. He has gone home now, his body made perfect in Christ.
Lord, help me to see what matters in this life. Take away my spiritual blindness so I may see what you would have me to see, until I am in your presence ... face to face.

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