It was his goal to live to be ninety years old, a feat he accomplished early this year. But, it was not his goal to live as a semi-invalid. When dialysis every other day became a mandate for living, he opted to spend his time with the comfort of the Lord rather than with the machines of mankind. Further, he chose that the time of his transition from this realm to the place of rest should take place at home.
From the testimony of family and friends, it was obvious that home was a place he loved. Dozens of pictures showed clearly the delight he took in the company of his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. A deep pleasure showed in his eyes and his smile in the snapshots that covered the decades of his time with them. Clear, too, was the deep devotion he held toward his wife of sixty-seven years.
That same devotion reflected in the eyes and voice of his widow. As she spoke in a strong and clear voice, with a couple of choked exceptions, her love and affection for him and her gratitude for the time they shared together was unmistakable. She recounted his conversion to Christ and the deep change that conversion brought about in his habits, changes that could not be denied by any who knew him.
I was not among those fortunate enough to have known him, yet could not help feeling that I had come to know him in their testimony of sharing. I had met Virgel and Lucille but briefly, a few years ago. When I walked over to offer my condolences to her, she recognized me. We spoke for a moment of the tremendous change that she now faced. She admitted that and then said quietly and firmly, “I know who holds the future.”
She paused, ever so slightly, and concluded, “And I know who holds my hand.”