This is not final. This is not the end.
For as the scriptures say,
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” (2-Cor. 5:1)
We have hope. For the scriptures also tell is that the day is coming when:
“God will prepare
a great feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
At that time he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
God will swallow up death forever.
He will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove the people's disgrace
from all the earth.
In that day we will say,
"Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us." (Isaiah 25:6-9)
Here is what I said at the memorial service:
We gather here today to celebrate and remember the life of Bob Kidd. While we grieve this tremendous loss, we also find comfort in remembering Bob’s life and the impact he had on each of us. I think he would have wanted us to smile and laugh and share stories about him.
A scripture that Tara and I prayed for Bob, during these last few weeks was Psalm 23 (an ancient Hebrew song). There are several parts of it that seem fitting. It begins,
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
When I think of Bob, and peaceful streams, I can’t help but think of fishing. I think he was happiest when he was fishing.
The song continues,
Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Bob walked through that dark valley with the same dignity and courage that he displayed his entire life, and we believe it was God’s mercy that he did not allow him to suffer in it any longer.
The song ends with,
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Goodness and faithful love were found in Bob’s character and family life. And it’s our expectation that Bob has now found a more permanent dwelling, where he’s fully at peace in a green meadow, dosing off, with his line in some peaceful stream.
I’d like to share a personal recollection. And there are many more; as I’m sure there are for you.
There’s a quote I came across that reads,
Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn.This could have been Bob’s mantra. When I met him, the back yard was all pool and iceplant. The front yard was cacti and volcanic rock. To visit him, Tara and I would make the long drive out to Indian Valley Reservoir.
Nearly 20 years ago, I pushed myself into Bob’s life. As a couple of firstborns, Tara and I have always been rather independent. As I remember it, Tara and I were already engaged when Bob and I met. Nevertheless, Bob was gracious and kind, always giving me the benefit of the doubt. He even paid for lunch that day (the first of many).
Even though it took awhile for the verdict to come back on me personally, my arrival brought a sigh of relief. Tara had been talking of doing missionary work in far off places like the Soviet Union or the Middle East. “At least now,” I’m sure his thinking went, “whether we like the guy or not, she won’t be traveling the world alone.”
Even though Bob didn’t share all our motivations for living in Kyrgyzstan, and then, New Zealand, he supported us in everyway possible. Even though he mat not have been thrilled that I had taken his daughter and granddaughters to live on the other side of the world, he encouraged us in everyway he could.
Bob didn’t always share his feelings in articulate words, yet he expressed them all the same. Immediately after getting married, with the plan to eventually move to the land of far, far away, we quit our jobs and moved to Oregon. Nevertheless, a couple years later Bob and Denny graciously bought us a new set of suitcases for our travels. Maybe to Bob, it was just luggage. But to us, it was blessing. It was his favor made tangible. Which meant the world to us.
Packaging can trick and confuse us. Something we buy online can look so good, but then when we open the package. Wow, what a disappointment. It wasn't like that with Bob. With Bob, you got what you paid for. And what you always got was a man who was kind, faithful, reliable, unassuming, honest, and gracious. No surprises. To the finish line.
Tara's poem about her father:
I look into your clear blue eyes and I melt.
At once, I am again a little girl,
standing beside you at White Pines Lake,
just the two of us,
You cast out your line,
a distance that awes me,
then the click of the reel
and you begin to draw it back in,
tugging a fly gently across the top of the water.
I stand at your side,
maybe just a little behind you,
and make small talk --
like a little bird,
dabbing around the shoreline, looking for worms.
You would never have dreamt of leaving me home,
though this is your favorite time,
your time, really
but you're always willing to share it with me.
Sometimes, I have my own rod,
you patiently untangle my line,
without disdain. Sometimes we catch fish,
but that is never the point.
The point is the lake, the trees,
the gentle rhythm of casting and reeling in.
And me, standing in your long, strong shadow,
looking up and worshiping.