The call came Sunday morning. Daniel waited for the summons for a long time. Finally, it came. My brother was the oldest of fifteen. I am next-to-the-youngest. We were expecting the call and were not surprised, yet there is still loss. There will be a void, for Daniel served as the patriarch of the family since our father’s death in 1960.
As a child, I never thought about the fact that he was my brother, for I played with his children as cousins. As our family grew older, we grew closer. Like the tent poles meeting at the hub, our biennial family reunions connected us and kept us intact. Like those tent poles, the higher our age, the closer we connected as siblings.
Lessons from my brother
For my brother, science brought fascination; service brought satisfaction; songs brought hope; memories brought tears; and happenings brought laughter. He was a man who studied and taught the Word. One Wednesday evening, he spoke of the importance of finding the right person for marriage. He encouraged us to settle for nothing but the best. I still have those notes from that youth meeting.
“You put in the order,” he said, “and God will fill it.”
One Sunday afternoon I visited him to ask advice. What to do with the flirtatious orderly who did not take “No” for an answer? Daniel gave me words to say to the young man. Then he added, “You tell him that if your brother needs to come talk to him, he will.” I felt safe and secure when he added, “I will come!”
Daniel would have driven those fifty miles to talk to the orderly, but there was no need. I went back to work that evening, energized, knowing my brother had my back. After I used the words my brother advised me to use, there was no more trouble.
At the service celebrating his life, a former employee who worked under Daniel shared, “I’ve traveled to many countries and people ask me how I know how to do all these things: electrical, plumbing, and other things. I tell them, ‘When I first started working, there was this man named Daniel . . . ‘ ”
Only waiting here
Daniel enjoyed family and times together. He paid attention to those near to his heart. Grandsons flew in to Maryland from California, Colorado, Maine, Pittsburgh, and Ohio to celebrate his life.
For months, Daniel waited for that summons. He said, “I’m just waiting for the summons to go Home.” While he waited, he read, prayed, and maintained his walk with Jesus, his Savior.
In April, three months after his 95th birthday, he heard the summons, and he went. He is Home.
Our family does reunions well. Some things are always the same, and some things are usually different. We hang onto traditions and bring in new ones. Some folks hardly ever come, and others hardly ever miss. We are growing old together and welcoming babies at the same time.
At many reunions, we have faced a first- the first reunion without Iva, without Ivan, then the first reunion without Lewie, and then without Allen. We grieve; we remember; and we recount the faithfulness of God.
When Daniel heard the summons, he answered. He was welcomed by a glorious reunion in Heaven. My brother was reunited with his mother who died in childbirth, his father, two sisters, four brothers, and three sons. He is eternally home.
Our reunions will never be the same, but we are okay, for another one of the family is Home.
Photo credits: pixabay.com (gavel)