Saturday, June 28, 2008

"i'll fly away, too-da-loo, too-da-loo, too-da-loo"

Many years ago my granddaddy was preaching a revival where the song leader had an interesting way of leading the hymn, "I'll Fly Away". It's kind of become a family favorite since then. Our family is one of those where someone ends up at the piano as we sit around singing hymns. Time and again we’d spontaneously break into “I’ll Fly Away” while gathered in the living room at my grandparents’ house. That song always makes me think of my grandfather.

Granddaddy passed away about half past midnight, early Saturday morning. He was 96. He was ready. Our family was probably about as ready as we could be. We are relieved and sad. We are comforted, hurting, celebrating, mourning, and rejoicing.

Until recent years Granddaddy was always an energetic man who loved to cook and garden and visit with people. As a child he taught me to play checkers. Only years later did I realize he was letting me win. My cousins realized the same about their checker games, too. Granddad continued to preach and serve well after his official retirement. Several small strokes in recent years had made it difficult for him to speak. He still had so much to say and never wanted to pass up the opportunity to tell someone about his Lord. I think his slurred and labored speech made his desire to share a Scripture or what God had done in his life all the more beautiful. He was going to put his energy into sharing The Gospel.

Granddaddy let us know he was ready. He was ready to give up this life for the next. Several times within the last few years we’ve thought, “Okay, this is it”. Then Granddaddy would get better and return to the nursing home. Because of this my mom gave him the nickname the Energizer Bunny (although, sometimes she got confused and called him the Eveready Rabbit). He kept going…and going…and going… When Mom came to tell me the news of his passing she simply said, "The Energizer Bunny's battery ran out."

He had spent much of the past week in the hospital. Most of the family was able to visit. That song, “I’ll Fly Away” seems to sum up the last few days of Granddaddy’s ninety-six years on this earth. “Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away…”

Shortly after we received word that Granddaddy had gone Home I sent a text to my dear friend, Christy. She wrote back something that I have thought about all day. She said, “I’m somewhat of jealous of him. I can’t even imagine the glory he just walked into!”
I am overwhelmed by the thought of it.

Words by Alfred Brumley

Some bright morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away

I'll fly away oh glory
I'll fly away (in the morning)
When I die hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly
I'll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I'll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I'll fly away


Vader's Mom said...

What a beautiful tribute. You & your family are in my prayers.

John said...

"I can see the fam'ly gather / Sweet faces all familiar / No one's old or feeble anymore." -Dottie Rambo

jason said...

An excellent and worthy tribute, Jennifer.

Zo-Be Designs said...

Hi Jen~

Just wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts. Sorry for the loss of your grandpa.

It's been far too long sweetie, let's get in touch