It has now been a few days since his funeral. Looking back, my world is surely a different place. I haven't produced any thoughts, just taken them as they hit me in waves, like discovery really. The entire weekend was wonderful. The drive through the hill country, including getting to be in my home town of New Braunfels if but for an hour. Being around so many loved ones, all walls dropped under the banner of united sorrow and joy over our patriarch. Seeing so many people show up to a ninety year old man's funeral, that the entire sanctuary was filled. The entire weekend, I felt the warmth of God's closeness. Only once or twice in my entire life have I felt so close. I kept wondering what new and exciting things Daddy Jake was experiencing right now. What is he feeling? What is he seeing? How wonderful it must be. Alive so much more than I.
Alongside such wonderful joy was one of the deepest sorrows I have ever felt. Everyone kept repeating how old he was, and how much he had lived so fully, all as means to comfort themselves and everyone else. I just couldn't stop myself from weeping. My sorrow was not for his condition, it was for mine. I hate the idea of spending the rest of my life without him in it. I hate the idea of having to wait until my death to see him again.
After returning from the viewing, I walked out to the property behind his house. A hose sat, softly dripping water into a shallow, dirt trough where Daddy Jake had been watering some bamboo. The sight of that hose broke my heart. Just knowing that his hands had placed it there, and that they were no longer there to continue the work made me miss him so much. As the Bible says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. "I have mourned, and have indeed been blessed with comfort. The comfort isn't that the pain is gone, but that it has poetry and purpose. One day there will be no more pain, and all will be made right. So, I draw near to the Lord, and all that draws me to Him. May his name be praised, and may that praise come my lips and yours.
Father, You are why we live. Thank You for the deep unyielding love of my family, that they call You Father. It only by Your mercy they do so. Thank You Lord for the distinct honor of getting to be the grandson of Jake Ambrose Laning. Thank You. Thank You. I cannot thank You enough. Your kingdom come, Father. Until then, steady our hands upon the plow, and our eyes upon the field. Amen.
All the men wearing one of Daddy Jake's many hats.