Billy Graham wasn’t the only great man to pass away recently. My cousin Daryl died today. He was in his mid-40s but had the intellectual development of a grade 5 or 6er. He was born with excessive fluid pressure in his brain and had several operations to put a tube in his head to drain it. As a teenager he fell into a pool and drowned, but was revived. This incident further contributed to his diminished mental state. Yet what he lacked in IQ he made up for in joy and inner beauty.
He fought so hard for everything he had in life and he was always so cheerful. He was abandoned as a new born by his birth parents and put up for adoption as a handicapped baby. God gave him what he needed: new Christian parents. Learning was slow and difficult comparatively, and friends were far and few between. What an accomplishment it was when he persisted and passed his driving test. Likewise, Daryl wanted to work and found a job at the airport. He enjoyed working like everyone else and earning his own money. He was a good little guy and a hard worker. He had so many operations in his life. Too many. So many complications. And then, as if adding insult to injury, a year ago they found a brain tumor. They performed the dangerous operation and successfully removed it. It was such a happy day when it was tested and found to be benign. His life was filled with so many things that were so stressful. Yet he faithfully carried on with the cross in his heart: contributing, loving, and smiling.
I call him little even though he was a full grown man. I still see him as little, as a sweet little boy in a big body. He fought hard and healed from the brain tumor. He always persisted no matter what life threw at him. He was always so joyful and full of the Lord. Simple and pure. Yet a couple of weeks ago, he went to the doctor for a stomach ache and they gave him 2 weeks to live. It was another life torpedo that came out of nowhere. He didn’t understand it. He had just gotten past the bloody brain tumor a year earlier and was supposed to be healthy. He was trying so hard and things were looking positive. He died today, a week early, and will be greatly missed. I thank God for giving this little boy loving parents to hold him during his last days, and to comfort and love him as he past on. His impact wasn’t on the greater world around him, but on the hearts of those close to him. He loved God so much. I thank you Jesus that he knew what was truly important in life. I thank you Jesus that he is smiling in Your presence now.
The inclination is to wonder why, after so many successes, the Lord took him home. And when I think of him suffering my eyes do well up with tears. I suppose we start to believe that life before death is somehow preferable to life after death; that we view things from our perspective and not the Fathers. We take a temporal outlook and not an eternal one. I know for a fact that my cousin has stepped through a door from a dump into paradise: from pathways of pain to roadways of gold. He has graduated from a faithful perception of our Lord to sitting on His lap. And I praise you Lord for it. I pray that I will likewise be as faithful a servant as my dear cousin was. He was faithful no matter what life threw at him. No matter how hard life’s difficulties, Daryl would just grab onto God that much tighter, like a child grabbing onto his daddy when he needed him. He was a true man of God.
Save Daddy's other knee for me cousin.
(1 Cor 15:5)