I was out of town all day on Wednesday for a memorial service for my Uncle Vince, who passed away a week ago.
The service was held in Ida, Louisiana (pop. 258) in a little church near where my Granddad lived till his death in the late 80's and where my mom spent her childhood years. The church has a big iron bell on a pole that is still used on Sunday mornings.
My brother Bill did the officiating and did a great job under the circumstances. Vince's body had been cremated and the ashes placed in a box that he had crafted himself. Following the service in the church, we walked across the street to the cemetary where Vince was buried at the foot of my Grandpa's grave.
My uncle lived a pretty wild life, including a reported period of time in the Bandidos motorcycle gang, sleeping in caves on occasion, getting in barfights (involving a stray bullet or two), and generally pushing the limits of most of the boundaries in this life.
But he was always kind to my brothers, sister and me, and the few times we were able to see him in the last ten years or so, he always went out of his way to tell us that he was proud of us.
It seems like just yesterday we were wrestling and playing football with him in the front yard of my house as kids in Shreveport. Just thinking about that is a great reminder to me that this life is truly a blink of the eye (James 4:14) and that every day is precious. It's also a reminder that we will all stand before God one day. All of us, without exception.
We are told by my mom that her brother made a decision to follow Christ and was baptized as a boy, but honestly, only God knows the condition of his heart when he stepped into eternity.
I'm hoping for the best. May God's grace abound.
So long, Uncle Vince. I hope with all my heart to see you on the other side.
How about you? Are you ready for the ultimate appointment?