Most of you reading this know my uncle passed away just over two weeks ago. It made for a very hard thanksgiving and most of us struggled to enjoy our meals as we all missed the idea of having Bubba there, when to be frank — the chances of him being at our thanksgiving table was slim anyway. But that was just Bubba, he left you eager to have him home and frustrated when you didn’t see him…. and most of the time totally unprepared for his visit because he just popped in. But we always looked for him around the holidays — hoped for him to come walking in and even looked forward to the laughs we get about him dozing off right in the middle of the floor. That was just Bubba. He LOVED coming home and desperately looked forward to it… his job kept him traveling and away even when he wanted to be home. As we approach Christmas my heart aches as we were almost always guaranteed to see Bubba at Christmas… even if it was a few days after Christmas day when he came strolling in. Bubba passing around this specific holiday hurts worse for us I think, because it was this time of the year he came home. When we were almost promised to see him. Well Bubba went home alright, and he is celebrating Christmas with some of the most special people I know… and I know they’ve been waiting for his homecoming too. We will miss him so, but I can’t wait to see him soon.
I spoke at Uncle Bubba’s memorial service on a sweet song that he once sent to me. It has taken me this long to get around to sharing with you all through my blog because my notes were hand written. Each time I read through them the tears would come steadily. It’s amazing how one can stand and speak and nearly make it all the way through a speech when necessary but in the comforts of our homes we break down at the very first words. I think Uncle Bubba would absolutely want me to share this with you all,even though it’s a little tough today… so without further adieu..
“Uncle Bubba had a heart that was bigger than gold. Of course, He’s a Mutter, who could expect anything less? Bubba would do all he could to make you feel better – if what he was doing was not working, he would try harder.
Last November, Bubba sought me out one afternoon and asked me simply to email him. Not thinking much of it, I did as asked. Just a typical email to Bubba. “Hope you are doing well, bet those pups are keeping you on your toes, get home for the holidays – we surely miss you! Hey, you can even stay with you favorite niece — though if you know Bubba, you know he did not have a favorite one of the four of us.
Bubba’s response to my email came surprisingly quickly. The opening paragraph – short and sweet. “Doing Ok. Will be so disappointed if I don’t make it home for the holidays, and thanks, I may take you up on the bed” Then his ever so famous email caption dot. dot. dot. Grin. (“…Grin”). He then jumped straight to the point. He began talking about a song. A song he was sure I had heard a thousand times before but wanted to send it along anyway. He told me his purpose was to share how the song came to be, just in case I did not know.
Laura Story wrote Blessings after having traveled a pretty rough journey with her husband of 8 years. Her husband had very serious health struggles after having been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He went through surgeries, bad news, and more bad news. The things that most of us tend to just shake our heads at. The things we feel sorry for…”how awful for someone so young to have to deal with so much.”
One of the things that stood out to me about their story at the time was something I was struggling with myself. And it was simply put by Laura Story as this, “A lot of things have gotten better, but a lot of things have not.” This was regarding her husband’s health.
Bubba could not have been more timely of sending me this song. We pray for God to bless us, but what does it look like when we spend hours, months, years praying for healing and it never comes? It came down to a choice for Laura Story, myself, and Uncle Bubba. Are we going to judge God based on our own circumstances that we don’t understand or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we know to be true about God?
A pure and absolute eye opener for me that day, even now. And Uncle Bubba somehow knew I needed to hear these exact words. Simply to consider that the blessing is found in the absence of the very things I’m praying for is a beautiful thing. After sharing a small link to the song Bubba simply wrote… “I listen to Blessings whenever I need a Boost. I hope you feel it as much as I do.”
Nearly a year later, on October 22, Bubba was rushed into emergency brain surgery. This was after having had a 6 way bypass surgery, experiencing yet another stroke, and having been in cardiac arrest for over 30 minutes. It was then that I remembered this song, if he did not need a boost in this very moment, then when did he? I asked my mom, dad, and Aunt Terri, who were there by his side to play this song for him, as he had done for me. They did play it and he responded with a thumbs up when he was hardly responding at all. It said everything to me, and I think it did to all of us at the time.
Bubba understood something that many of us will never grasp. He was grateful for every single moment he had. He counted his blessing and found them during the times that didn’t make sense at all, even when the prayers seemed unanswered. He looked for the good in everything and in all of us. He understood that our circumstances were in the hands of God — and that was a blessing.
As I’ve thought over and over about the memories I have and the joys and moments of laughter Uncle and Bubba and I shared… this song will forever be a highlight. And every time I need my boost or get discouraged because God brought Uncle Bubba home before I was ready… I will remember that some way, some how this is a very sweet blessing and a mercy in disguise. But the bigger blessing?? It is knowing that I will be reunited with Uncle Bubba soon enough, and today at this moment, there is nothing sweeter. My heart is so full.”