Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Personal Tribute

It has been several days since I've posted. Everyday I think I should write something but rarely feel like sitting long enough to formulate my thoughts into words and then put them in some kind of cohesive order that will make sense to anybody that might stop by to read them.

Today is a little bit different.
Today, I feel like I need to force myself to write.
Today, I feel like I owe it to this man that I write about.

Last Sunday morning, my Uncle "Spud" passed away. He was 89 years old.

I just want to share a few thoughts about my uncle. I know that most of you don't know him, but you probably know somebody that has some of his characteristics.

As kids, we spent a lot of Sunday afternoons at their house. Even as a little kid, I could tell that my dad really looked up to his big sister. The guy that she married affirmed his thoughts that she was a pretty bright lady. I believe that Spud has been one of my dad's closest friends for far more than half a century. In spite of the fact that my uncle always threatened to take up a collection to send my mom back to the Philippines, I think that it was his constant joking with her (and everybody else) that made her feel welcome in her new home and with her new family.

Until my aunt died more than twenty years ago, I always thought that she was the real joker in the Rohman family. Since then, I'm not so sure. And God help us all because they raised their five kids to have the sense of humor that could only come from such a devilish combination!

Our Sunday afternoons where spent playing outside (what kids did back in the day) while the big guys played cards. The game of choice was usually pinochle, but I think that other games made their way onto the table from time to time.

I was never "John" to my uncle; I was Julius. "There's old Julius," he would say when I walked in. Julius Jackson Johnson Jones if you need to know the full name he had given me. After a while, I began to wonder if he knew that Julius wasn't really my name.

He took me to a ballgame at Wrigley when I spent a week there in the summertime. He also took me golfing with his buddies. That day, I provided the humor as it was my first time golfing.

These few words cannot come close to describing my uncle. The simple reality is that pages of words could not do it. I wish that you all could have known him; could have experienced him. I'm pretty sure that you would have walked away from such an experience with a smile on your face and a happy feeling on the inside.

I know that many of my evangelical friends hold fast to the belief that each person has to come to know Jesus as Savior in the the manner that they did--a moment in time when they asked Jesus to forgive their sins and received him as their Savior. In Paul's letter to the Church in Rome, he writes that if you can confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and you believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. He goes on to explain that it is with the heart that we believe and are justified, but it is with the mouth that we profess it and are saved.

I know that Spud believed that Jesus died for his sin and confessed Him as Lord. I know that he believed that God raised him from the dead. And I know that there will be many Catholics (much to the surprise of some of my Baptist friends) that will be in heaven, never having prayed "the sinners prayer" or walked an aisle during a revival meeting.

I know that for those of us that share this belief, there is a grand reunion awaiting! When this life--this human life--comes to an end, we will see Jesus face to face. We will stand with those that have gone before us and together we will honor Him as Lord and Savior. The hope that we have is not a "wish for" kind of hope. It is the hope of a person that looks forward to an expected future--a future with Jesus in heaven.

While I do write this to pay a small tribute to Bertram "Spud" Rohman, I also have to ask--Who is Jesus to you?
How will you enter into the life after death?
What is there at the end of this life?

If these are not things that you've thought about, I encourage you to do so. As always, if you have questions or need to discuss these matters you can contact me.

To my parents, my cousins and all of the family that shares my sorrow, I wish you peace and comfort...

...and hope.

Julius Jackson Johnson Jones <><


Hell Hound said...

I think that he would have appreciated your fond memory of him. Nice post, John.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

He sounds like he was a great uncle, John!

MarkD60 said...

Condolences on the loss of your Uncle. You speak of him like I remember my Dads sisters husband.