But the gift of our departed cousin was striking. We had an opportunity too often not shared between family members; we heard about a time decades ago when Ace felt God's hand of protection in his life. We learned he had chosen the hymns for the funeral with a special heart to bless his family at the time of his passing. We learned that before ever he and his wife began experiencing the health problems that would eventually render their bodies unhabitable, their faith was clearly what bore them tenderly up.
I'm sure my cousins will miss a father they love dearly and tended gently. But they certainly had a glorious reminder of the blessings their father brought into their lives. And we were reminded by Ace's testimony that the Hand of God visits us in very real and impressive ways even when our faith is a work under construction.
So in the days to come I'll work harder to tend all my family relationships with more mercy, take more risks in the offering-forgiveness department, say "I love you" more often, stay in touch more persistently and thank God every day for the family God gave me, including our gifts and warts and blessings and challenges. It is such a delightful pool of love in action.