Sunday, August 11, 2013

Proverbs 22:1 A Good Name, Indeed!

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1 ESV) 



FRANK GWINN WHITE
1923-2013

It has been nearly a month since I sat in front of my computer to look into the book of Proverbs. I’ve had a hard time facing a blank page... Since we came home from Colorado (which was WONDERFUL, thank you, LORD) - it has been surreal here. We returned late on Sunday, July 21. I spent the entire day, Monday, in meetings while Don did laundry. Tuesday I spent a delightful day with my dear friend Pammie, her daughter Erin, and baby Royce, for whom we prayed through the first months of his life. He is now 17 mos. old, and although he is delayed physically (just beginning to sit up and scooting all over the floor), he is very bright and the happiest baby you have ever seen! He is a testament to the power of prayer and to the grace of God!

Late Tuesday, Don and I finally went to visit Frank, his father. When we arrived he complained of a little sore throat, so we gave him some Mucinex just in case a cold was starting. We had a nice conversation with him and left him to sleep. His condition deteriorated rapidly and the hospice put nurses there around the clock. On Thursday, our daughters, who had extended their stays in Colorado, both returned home.

By Friday, when our daughter, Molly, and her family were visiting him in the late afternoon, they called us to say he had just a few more hours. Emmy and her family and our darling niece, Laurin, and her husband, Ben, rushed over, and we spent the most amazing night holding Dad’s hands, singing hymns and praise songs, praying together, and alternately crying and laughing as we reminisced. The nurses could tell that he responded to our presence, even though we could not communicate directly with him. The next day Don’s brother, Dave, and his wife, Nancy, and their other daughter, Amy, were able to join us, and we saw him peacefully into eternity Saturday afternoon.  We were so thankful for God's timing - that we were all home from Colorado and able to be with him. And we will be forever indebted to the sweet hospice caregivers and nurses who cared for him with such love.

We laid Dad to rest this past Friday with a very intimate, family-only funeral. It was so special! I had given Molly’s husband, Kevin, two large boxes of family photos, and he put together the most beautiful slideshow that made us laugh and cry. It was a glorious tribute to the most gentle man I’ve ever known. Two sailors from Camp Pendleton came up and presented an American flag at the graveside and played taps in honor of his WWII service as a Navy Lieutenant in the Pacific theater.

Frank Gwinn White left a wonderful legacy for our family. He was a devoted, committed husband, and a playful, instructive father, who shared so many skills and values with Don and Dave. Frank was my father-in-law for almost 42 years, and because my own father died when I was in my mid-thirties, he was my only father for nearly thirty years. Don and I were so blessed to have him living so close to us for the last three years of his life. It was an honor to be able to care for this sweet man. We will miss him terribly, but we are so grateful to the LORD that he is finally at home! As Molly said, right after he passed, “He can now hear and see again!”

Dad had little money at the end. He was never of man of wealth. But he had a “good name!” He was beloved and honored by all who knew him. As he declined in health the past few years, he maintained a humility and dignity, even as he was having to be cared for, that left a lasting impression of grace in difficulty that we will hope to emulate as we, too, enter into that phase of our own lives. Who needs silver and gold when you clearly have “loving favour?” God blessed him, and us, indeed!  


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