A friend of mine lost her grandfather last year. While in Florida helping out, her Grandmother gave her a wrinkled, torn piece of paper on which her Grandfather had written a poem. Beautiful and simple:
“By Dying I Live”
by Arthur Neil DuBois (1931-2008)
By dying, I live.
By surrender, I win the victory.
By giving, I am made rich.
By kneeling, I stand firm.
By weakness, I am made strong.
By fasting, I am made fat.
By selflessness, I am made satisfied.
By praying for others, I am blessed beyond measure.
By serving others, all my needs are met.
By comforting the lonely, I receive fellowship.
By praising the Lord, I receive high honor.
By being a fool in the world’s eyes, I am made wise by the Lord.
By not seeking my own comfort, I receive all my satisfaction.
By dying to self, I will live forever.
She also writes about the difficulties of the family situation following her grandfather’s death, but also about how the Lord was using her and about the life that her grandfather built:
These last few days have been hell on earth for her [grandmother], and it has been almost unbearably hard to watch it happen. I say “almost” because, through it all, our Father has been faithful to guide and comfort us. He has been using my mouth to speak His Word to her in an amazing way. It seems that Scripture comes forth without any effort on my part to seek out the right word for the moment or to recall verses memorized in Sunday school. I open my mouth, or rather, my mouth opens and out come these words–His Words, apt and true, sometimes ones that I didn’t even know I’d memorized.
He also continues to remind me that the house I’m living in, the subject of the new debate, was built by a godly man, my great-grandfather, for the purposes of raising his family in a God-honoring way. Every nail was hammered into place with that purpose. In my grandma’s despondency, I was pushed to remind her of this. This house is God’s. It always has been. I have seen the enemy trying to infiltrate and subvert, taking advantage of the death of my grandfather, pillar of faith that he was, but the enemy has no place here. This place was consecrated to His service then, and we will fight to keep it that way. This house will not be a stumbling block or a millstone but a sanctuary.
I found a box of letters that my great-grandmother wrote to her sister at the turn of the last century (1901 mostly). I also found a book written in 1848 Proverbial Philosophy: A Book of Thoughts and Arguments. Right up my alley. I intend to read its fragile and fragrant pages with care. And lastly, I found a some poetry from another relative written in 1880. All so interesting and enlightening. Be jealous.
I am sleeping in the room in which my dad spent his first few months of life. His crib was by the window where my dresser now stands. That’s kinda cool.
My grandmother has been sharing much of her wonderful marriage and life with my grandfather. Each new story leaves me both hopeful, eager, and in pain.