Making grown men cry.

Dr Wes has been a professor longer than I have been alive. He has taught generations of students, explaing the Bible. I have no idea how many students he has had, and how many students have cried while struggling to understand Romans.

Pastor Jim has been a pastor longer than I have been alive. I would have to live another 100  years to understand the number of people he has married and buried and dedicated as babies and visited in the hospital and at home. Nothing can touch his calmness.

Today I watched both of these men start to talk and then stop as they were overcome by emotion.

Why? Because today was the funeral of Donna Eicher.

Donna was 90. She had been married for more than 10 years to the man who had been her boss for many years. His first wife died, and Donna and Cyril, who had been friends, at nearly 80 and 85 or so, decided to get married, she for the first time.

Why did these grown men cry? Because Donna loved Jesus so much, and Cyril loved Donna so much. For the last 18 months she has been bedridden after a fall, and she has been in and out of herself. Cyril has been at her side the whole time.

When she was younger, we were told today, part of a student development team, she and two other women would pray for the students they were responsible for, the lives they had in their hands. As they finished and were walking away, still aware of the many needs of girls, Donna would say, “Now remember, for all these needs, Jesus is enough.” And it was true for her whole life.

Nancy remembers her coming to Wednesday night supper, a thing we do at the church. Donna thanked her for supper and said, “I so like peanut butter and jelly.” She always assured me that they were praying for me.

I struggle to describe Jesus in ways that will help us realize that He is real. I don’t like getting into debates, because although that is at times helpful, usually people don’t meet Him through arguments. What is supposed to be the evidence of His reality is the love that his followers have for each other.

One of those pieces of evidence is Donna herself. Another is the fact that these two strong, experienced, veteran pastors and teachers, when looking the character and life of this little lady, had tears in their ears and throats.

And I know that she would smile and demure, chagrined that she had made them cry, and yet quietly pleased that Jesus had been evident in her life.

Thanks Wes and Jim and Donna and Cyril. Our generations have a long way to go. Your model is a challenge.

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One response to “Making grown men cry.

  1. When we lived in the same apartment complex back in the mid-80’s, I served with Donna on the co-op’s “Hospitality Committee” established to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood. I remember thinking at the time–and I still think this–that she was a perfect person to be on that committee because of her warmth that embraced you right away with “welcome”.