He wasn't only my uncle. He was my godfather.
I have realized only recently that he turned (just)sixteen, three days after I was born.
I remember when he brought me penny candy. I remember wax lips in the tiny brown bag.
He was always sweet to me.
My kindergarten teacher had been his kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Swartz.
As I got a little bit older, my school teachers were his former college classmates.
He would nicely scold me to wear a barrette to keep the hair out of my eyes...so he could see my face.
He found a sweet girl to marry, and I was invited to be their flower girl.
I loved his bride to pieces just like I loved him, and they were so sweet to take me places, and treat me like a princess -- long before princesses were such a big deal.
His bride would do things like make homemade cherry Cokes with maraschino cherry juice for us. She would roll back the braided rug so we could dance to "American Pie" by Don McLean. She created furniture for my Barbies out of Kleenex boxes. And, on hot summer nights, we would pile into their car, and take dinner to him at The Peace Bridge -- where he worked.
They got a dog, when I had wished for them to have a baby.
But then they did have a baby, and another, and another, and another. And still -- they always made me feel special. They let me help take care of the babies.
Somewhere in all of this, he(they) learned to love the Lord. We all did through the years, and in our own time -- or, I should say, GOD'S time. How grateful I was on the day of his Memorial Service to be reminded that we have (regardless of the journey) ended up "on the same page." He was louder along the journey than I was, or may ever be. But, what I learned... at his service... is to be a little louder in my life. Because, guess what? People ARE watching. People ARE paying attention. And regardless of whether they would say good or bad things when I'm gone... I want them to know that I loved God -- loudly, without apology, and yes, sometimes causing them to squirm in their seats. (That's called being convicted by the Holy Spirit!)
So God, today... I pray that somehow, you would let my uncle know how thankful I am for his unwavering example of BOLDNESS to me. You will recognize him Lord. He's the new kid on the block, out there dancing on the streets of gold... with TWO healthy legs.