Monday, November 24, 2014

Taking Dad to the edge of the Jordan

Yesterday was supposed to have be one of the saddest days of my entire life. Yet here I am after Dad's funeral and I cannot help but feel like the most blessed, most overwhelmed with joy, most hopeful man in the world.

Mom and Dad's grave site,
the morning after Dad's funeral
This entire time, I believe Dad would have felt honored by every aspect of it. Anita and I had Dad dressed in his denim bib overalls, with a red plaid flannel workshirt beneath and in his right hand, just as it was often poised in life, his smoking pipe. He had often told Anita that if she had him wearing a tie he would come back to haunt her, LOL. Last night during the visitation we had a table set up displaying some of the many knives that he hand-made over the years. That was my aunt's idea, and it was a good one. A lot of people got to see some really amazing examples of his handiwork.

The service was, well... spot-on perfect. It was a time rife with tales from the life of Robert Rankin Knight. One of the officiating ministers was particularly fond of the time two and a half years ago when Dad (during his and Uncle Frank's epic/crazy cross-country drive to Arizona) was pulled over for speeding in west Texas. We still don't know what he was clocked doing, except that the speed limit was 80 MPH. Somehow Dad got off with a warning after chatting with the patrolman about his knifemaking. That was Dad awright: a peaceful demeanor and cheerful talking can go far.

As I said, the service could not have been better. Everything about it was a true testament to his memory. Something about having two Methodist ministers and a Holiness-turned-Baptist-turned-Presbyterian pastor officiating made it so right, somehow. Dad always said he wanted "Go Rest High On That Mountain" by Vince Gill played at his funeral, and Anita's two friends from her church did an amazing rendition of that song. I'm also glad that before the service, those who came got to see the memorial video that Wilkerson Funeral assembled. So many moments from such a beautifully-lived life.

But it was what came after the service, as we were on the way to the graveside ceremony, that impressed my heart with how much God blessed our lives with Dad, and how He is continuing to bless our lives, and my own especially. Even when I spoke a few words about Dad during the service, somehow I didn't see ALL of the people who were packed inside the church. That came later, when our family was in the limo and watching everyone file out of the church, and then as we met in the fellowship hall following the interment.  Words fail to convey how much my heart jumped to see Melody Hallman Daniel - AKA "Frannie Filks" from our movie Forcery - and her mother.  Denise, I am so very moved that you and Nick could come and join the celebration of Dad's life.  Ed Woody and Chad Austin: my brothers... Dad loved you as if you were his own sons.

To each of you and more who came to the funeral, who came to the visitation, who came to visit with us at the home during the past few days, who kept my family in their prayers thank you for honoring him with your presence: on behalf of my family, you haven no idea how exceedingly grateful we are for taking the time to be with us.

I will confess something: I am scared. I don't know what I'm doing, it seems like. But in the past several days God has been showing me that just as much as He blessed me with the greatest father that anyone could ever have, He has also blessed me... and is STILL blessing me... with the most wonderful friends and family that anyone could have in this world. We are told to lean not on our own understanding, to trust God with all our heart instead. We are also told that we don't have to see the entire road ahead: that His word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path. In these past three weeks and in the last several days, God has demonstrated in too many ways to count that He IS with us. That He is with me, no matter how far I have felt from Him. He has brought me this far. Maybe He will bring me a little further still.

Yesterday, we said farewell to Dad. But this was not goodbye, not really. This was a celebration of his life. Indeed, this was a celebration of what it means to HAVE life, and life abundantly. I am always going to miss Dad. As I sit in this house that is now suddenly my own, only now is his absence beginning to impress itself upon me. But I also know that Dad would want me to keep moving forward, to always be thankful for what God has given me, to "think positive" (as he often told me), and to cherish those who God has placed into my life.

Just as Dad was all of those things and more.

To all of those who have held up my family in their thoughts and prayers during these very trying past 19 days, to those who offered words of encouragement and edification, to those who have consoled our family and helped us in so many ways for the past three days, to those who came to honor the memory of Dad last night and this afternoon, to all of those and many, many more...

Thank you.

No comments:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Taking Dad to the edge of the Jordan

Yesterday was supposed to have be one of the saddest days of my entire life. Yet here I am after Dad's funeral and I cannot help but feel like the most blessed, most overwhelmed with joy, most hopeful man in the world.

Mom and Dad's grave site,
the morning after Dad's funeral
This entire time, I believe Dad would have felt honored by every aspect of it. Anita and I had Dad dressed in his denim bib overalls, with a red plaid flannel workshirt beneath and in his right hand, just as it was often poised in life, his smoking pipe. He had often told Anita that if she had him wearing a tie he would come back to haunt her, LOL. Last night during the visitation we had a table set up displaying some of the many knives that he hand-made over the years. That was my aunt's idea, and it was a good one. A lot of people got to see some really amazing examples of his handiwork.

The service was, well... spot-on perfect. It was a time rife with tales from the life of Robert Rankin Knight. One of the officiating ministers was particularly fond of the time two and a half years ago when Dad (during his and Uncle Frank's epic/crazy cross-country drive to Arizona) was pulled over for speeding in west Texas. We still don't know what he was clocked doing, except that the speed limit was 80 MPH. Somehow Dad got off with a warning after chatting with the patrolman about his knifemaking. That was Dad awright: a peaceful demeanor and cheerful talking can go far.

As I said, the service could not have been better. Everything about it was a true testament to his memory. Something about having two Methodist ministers and a Holiness-turned-Baptist-turned-Presbyterian pastor officiating made it so right, somehow. Dad always said he wanted "Go Rest High On That Mountain" by Vince Gill played at his funeral, and Anita's two friends from her church did an amazing rendition of that song. I'm also glad that before the service, those who came got to see the memorial video that Wilkerson Funeral assembled. So many moments from such a beautifully-lived life.

But it was what came after the service, as we were on the way to the graveside ceremony, that impressed my heart with how much God blessed our lives with Dad, and how He is continuing to bless our lives, and my own especially. Even when I spoke a few words about Dad during the service, somehow I didn't see ALL of the people who were packed inside the church. That came later, when our family was in the limo and watching everyone file out of the church, and then as we met in the fellowship hall following the interment.  Words fail to convey how much my heart jumped to see Melody Hallman Daniel - AKA "Frannie Filks" from our movie Forcery - and her mother.  Denise, I am so very moved that you and Nick could come and join the celebration of Dad's life.  Ed Woody and Chad Austin: my brothers... Dad loved you as if you were his own sons.

To each of you and more who came to the funeral, who came to the visitation, who came to visit with us at the home during the past few days, who kept my family in their prayers thank you for honoring him with your presence: on behalf of my family, you haven no idea how exceedingly grateful we are for taking the time to be with us.

I will confess something: I am scared. I don't know what I'm doing, it seems like. But in the past several days God has been showing me that just as much as He blessed me with the greatest father that anyone could ever have, He has also blessed me... and is STILL blessing me... with the most wonderful friends and family that anyone could have in this world. We are told to lean not on our own understanding, to trust God with all our heart instead. We are also told that we don't have to see the entire road ahead: that His word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path. In these past three weeks and in the last several days, God has demonstrated in too many ways to count that He IS with us. That He is with me, no matter how far I have felt from Him. He has brought me this far. Maybe He will bring me a little further still.

Yesterday, we said farewell to Dad. But this was not goodbye, not really. This was a celebration of his life. Indeed, this was a celebration of what it means to HAVE life, and life abundantly. I am always going to miss Dad. As I sit in this house that is now suddenly my own, only now is his absence beginning to impress itself upon me. But I also know that Dad would want me to keep moving forward, to always be thankful for what God has given me, to "think positive" (as he often told me), and to cherish those who God has placed into my life.

Just as Dad was all of those things and more.

To all of those who have held up my family in their thoughts and prayers during these very trying past 19 days, to those who offered words of encouragement and edification, to those who have consoled our family and helped us in so many ways for the past three days, to those who came to honor the memory of Dad last night and this afternoon, to all of those and many, many more...

Thank you.

No comments: