Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:11-12
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Over the last couple of days, I have been thinking about two family members that have passed away, but would have celebrated birthdays this past week. These two exceptional people were my cousin Kay and my uncle Grover. They have both been on my mind this past week and I wanted to share with you the impact they had on my life.
Kay was a year older than me and she was a special cousin and friend. The one thing that I will always remember about Kay was her smile. She had the biggest smile that I have ever seen and Kay was always smiling. Like all of us, life handed Kay some difficult moments but she still managed to smile and to have a positive attitude. Kay loved people, especially her family, and she was someone that I truly enjoyed being around and growing up with.
Kay, her sister Karen and I would spend many hours playing the game of Monopoly at my grandmother’s kitchen table. Those are special times that I still think about some thirty five years later. We all loved each other and enjoyed each other’s company and I do miss those times that we had together. Kay also took it upon herself to protect me when older kids would try to intimidate us younger kids on the bus. I remember one time she stood toe to toe with this kid and told him to leave her cousin alone or he would have to deal with her. That kid backed down and never bothered me again. Kay’s example of loving your family and protecting them is something that I have remembered throughout my life.
Kay was a warm, loving person and just being around her made you feel special and loved. Growing up, Kay was such a positive person and that attitude was contagious. I can picture Kay today, walking the streets of heaven, and she is smiling. I am so thankful for the time that we had together and I know that one day I will see that beautiful smile again.
My uncle Grover also had a tremendous influence on my life. Along with my father, he taught me responsibility and hard work. He instilled in me the resolve to never give up no matter how difficult the situation. He emphasized the importance of studying and obtaining a good education so that I could be a good citizen and a productive member of society. Grover would always quiz me on political and world facts and he expected me to know the answers about what was happening in the world.
When I bought my first car, he would come over to my house and “inspect” my car to make sure that it was clean and that I was taking good care of it. He continued to do this throughout my teen years and that is something I still have fond memories of. I have told this story to my children as I try to teach them responsibility in their own lives.
When my father passed away, it was my uncle that broke the news to me. I remember the many conversations that we had after my father died. My uncle loved me and he was there for me when I needed someone to talk to or confide in. Grover taught me the importance of having a good reputation and that was something that he took a lot of pride in himself. He helped many people in the community that needed assistance and had no one to turn to. He helped others because it was the right thing to do and he didn’t do it to be noticed or to be rewarded. My uncle continues to have a great influence on my life and I know that he would be proud that I am passing on his knowledge to my children.
Our scripture passage today plainly tells us that God loved us so much that He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Since God loves us so very much, we are commanded to love each other, and then others will see that God, and His love, lives within us. It was evident to me that God lived in these two wonderful human beings.