I met Jim about 10 years ago. We struck up an immediate mutual admiration society. He was about 77. We met just a short time after my maternal grandfather passed away. He and Faye, his wife, took a liking to our two girls in an instant. Our oldest quickly dubbed him, â??Ã?ÃºGrandpa Jim.â??Ã?Ã¹
We sat and listened to the story of building the home in which Jim and Faye shared. He loved to garden, the tractor was a sure place for reflection. A large tree shaded nearly their entire front lawn. One day we had stopped by to chat and he described the process involved in planting and nurturing â??Ã?Ãºfescueâ??Ã?Ã¹ in a climate not really conducive to the cool blades of grass this variety would sprout. Summers were given to trips to Southfork and Creede in Colorado. Jim enjoyed sitting along the Rio Grande fishing for trout. He loved the outdoors.
Jim battled several forms of cancer. His body bore the brunt of treatment, his heart became very weak. Just last month a test revealed the news – a heart that pumped at about 30%. Certain inevitabilities come with that kind of information. The doctor assured Jim and Faye he could do what he wanted but would need to pay attention to his heart. There was no treatment – the cancer treatment the likely culprit in this diagnosis.
Monday a week ago Jim left this place for the place Jesus promised. His leaving created for me a striking image. People spend lots of money creating visuals to convince us we need the latest product. I am not sure you could do better than Jim in his leaving. Here is a bit of what I shared at his Memorial Celebration last Friday.
Certain images stick in our mind. I admire those who can capture a thought or truth visually. We can give Daniel or Andrew, out audio-visual gurus, an idea and they are able to translate that visually; it is very powerful.
Jim left us with a powerful image. Certainly we should remember his persevering spirit. We ought to emulate his doing that moved him beyond just hearing. The image I want to leave you with is one Jim did not intend. I have thought about this since Monday evening when Faye was sharing with me the events of the late afternoon. You may have heard the story but did you catch the picture?
Before the local news was over and the world news had come on Jim went to move the hen off the roost and check for eggs. He was doing something he enjoyed. The outdoors held an attraction. A few years ago I recall him telling me about his diligence to grow fescue in his front yard. Talk about work! He loved to sit along the Rio Grande and fish for trout. The tractor was certainly a place of reflection. The garden his joy.
Jim did not make it back to the house. But, in his pocket were two eggs he gathered. Eggs have always been a symbol of life. Jim stared death down a number of times. He could do so because he understood his hero had defeated death. This family understood hero. Leon shared with me last evening he was near certain everyone in the family had been helped by Jim. Jesus was Jimâ??Ã?Ã´s hero.
Today we celebrate life. Death is swallowed up in life and the eggs in Jimâ??Ã?Ã´s pocket serve as a powerful reminder that we come to this place with a confident hope because of the Resurrection of Jesus.
This striking image lingers for me â??Ã?Â¶