Today is the day that we celebrate the saints that have passed into the arms of G-d, who are no longer on this earth to bless us with their physical actions and presences, but who continue to bless us with their memories and our continued actions because of them.
I'd like to take advantage of this post to remember the saints from my life who have passed on.
George Royster, my father's father. Even in the hospital, he would have my father read him his Sunday School lesson. In life, I worried about his faith in G-d, because it didn't look like mine or what I was raised to think faith should look like - "Big Church" is more important that Sunday School, play Christian music all the time, try to bring conversations back to G-d, etc... Now that I'm older and have experienced more of the world, I just realize that my grandfather was a man of few words (his experiences in World War II left him feeling like a lot of things were better left unsaid), but his actions spoke very loud. My grandfather loved Jesus, his family, and baseball, and I know this, not because he spent all him time talking about them, but because he spent all his time with them.
Kyle Funke, possibly the hardest one for me to write about. Kyle attended college with me and was a light on our campus. He had struggled with cancer for ten years, and, thus, knew how to take advantage of life. He studied hard, but, when a life opportunity presented itself, he lived it, regardless of what class it might occur during. He lived HARD and FULL, and is often my inspiration when I do things that scare me. He's taught me to grip the bull by the horns and dive headfirst into everything life has to offer, keeping Christ at the center of it all. It's painful to know that G-d took him back when he was so young, but I know that there's nowhere else Kyle would rather be.
Norman Schanck, my mother's father. It takes little introspection for me to know what my pop-pop meant to my walk with G-d. He was my rock of faith. Whether that came from his being a pastor, his faith itself, or some of both, I'm not sure, but, nonetheless, I felt secure in my faith, knowing he was secure in his. To be honest, I couldn't tell you his beliefs on a lot of the debated dogma, but I do know that Jesus loves me truly, deeply, and unfathomably, and I know it because my pop-pop taught it to me. Even as he left this world, he was teaching it to me. That is a lesson I cling to, and always will.
Feel free to share with me about your saints. I'd love to hear all about them and what they taught you.