This past Thursday marked one year since our family said goodbye to its patriarch. He was a hero beyond heroes. I spent some time at his grave Thursday and my heart broke again because of his absence. I know, however, that he lives now with his Father and King, and in that my heart rejoices! To the end, he remained faithful to his Savior, praising His name.
I think the best way to explain what kind of man he was and the deep, eternal impact he had on my life is to share with you what I wrote for his funeral:
Legacy. Leaving one is something men of power clamor for, and men of means worry endlessly about. Opa never clamored, and it is very doubtful that his mind ever dwelled in fret over such silly things. He simply lived, and by the nature of who he was, left a legacy far too great to summarize. He led this family with love, wisdom, and wit; but most importantly, he led it with a heart dedicated to our eternal Father. The Bible speaks of how God blesses generations that follow based on the character of those who stand unwavering in His presence. Opa has easily set generation upon generation beyond those standing here to inherit such a promise. As a child I'd often stay with him during the summers. I'd wake up in the morning to find him leading his wife in Scripture, prayer, and praise. It was years later that I found out how much of that prayer was protecting me. I look back at at my life and honestly believe that it was because he spent endless time at the throne of the Father that my path stayed close to God's heart despite trials and pains. I'm sure the same can be said of my sisters. His love and prayers encompassed us. Much like the name of Moses is held with reverence in the house of Israel, the name Konrad will forever be held with reverence in mine. Not because we wish to idolize him as anything more then a man, but because there is something to be said about a man who walks so closely with God that you basically see His reflection. Years ago, I chose to steal his name because I can only pray to live with half the godliness, integrity, love, wisdom, intelligence, and wit that flowed in abundance from him. He was a teacher in my life, from how to tie a tie, to unknowingly letting me observe how a husband serves and loves his wife unconditionally as Christ did the church. He spoke of God's faithfulness and told me to count my blessings, as well as taught me the hymns as reminders. It is in his teaching and his legacy that I cannot stand before you today and share in my own voice my thoughts. Because if he taught me anything, he helped teach me that there is a King, and His Kingdom is always first. For that, and endless other reasons I say I love you, I will miss you, and truthfully: du sind mein Held (you are my hero).
It wasn't long after he passed that my bride turned to me and said: "I think the song 10,000 Reasons would have been perfect for Opa's funeral." Truer or more thoughtful words were never said. We're singing that song in church this morning, and I was reminded just how perfect her suggestion was. I'll leave these lyrics as just a glimpse at who my Opa was... because this is the EXACT story of his passing.
Bless the Lord, O my soul O my soul Worship His holy name Sing like never before O my soul I'll worship Your holy name
And on that day when my strength is failing The end draws near and my time has come Still my soul will sing Your praise unending Ten thousand years and then forevermore