"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Theodore Geiss (Dr. Seuss)
My friend Jerry was one of the greatest people I have ever known. He was the kind of person that when he talked to you, he made you feel like you were someone special. He always made time for people. But more than that, he loved life and he loved his Lord Jesus Christ. He truly was like my big brother, my spiritual big brother. He had a gift of helping people to deal with the realities of life, while at the same time inspiring you to be better, to do the essentials that are meaningful to life.
One of my favorite sayings of his was that there are only two things in life that are really important -
1 - Your relationship to Jesus Christ and
2 - Your relationship to others in Christ.
The other of my favorites was that he was continually reminding all of us to be intentional every day - to be intentional about reaching out to others, loving them and sharing Christ with them.
No other person outside my family has ever had a greater impact on me than Jerry did. When I was a new hire at Dow, he was always smiling, teasing and talking to me about how I needed to conduct myself to be respected and to be successful there. Once I became reacquainted with him when we moved here 21 years ago, he was constantly helping me and Ron to become better marriage partners. He mentored Ron and me constantly, both in our marriage and in our faith walk with Christ. We would spend hours sometimes talking about spiritual things and how we needed to walk each day to live out what God was teaching us.
When I was rejected by those closest to me - he was always my advocate. He would go to bat for me no matter what others thought. He believed in me and encouraged me to constantly lean on Christ as my rock. He listened and advised, even when the advice was difficult for me to hear. He had a knack for getting right to the crux of the matter and had the courage to say what needed to be said, even though he usually managed it without offending. His deep love for us always showed through and so we were able to accept his words because we knew his heart. He made us laugh and made us closer to each other. I hope to share some of my "Jerry" stories as time goes by. But right now, my heart is just too tender.
There are so many lessons I learned from knowing him, that I am truly a different and better person having known him. I am grateful to God that he gave me the opportunity to know him for almost 30 years. I am going to miss him terribly and so often I wish I could pick up the phone or drop by the church to talk something over with him. My family and I miss him terribly.
But I know that I will see him again...