Grampa Glenn couldn’t carry a tune. As I inherited my musical ability from him, I never really noticed this, and so I enjoyed listening to him lead the singing in church. According to a story told by my mom, Grampa and his father, Clyde Speed, were having a discussion about his singing when Gramp declared that the Lord just said to make a joyful noise. To which Great-grandpa Clyde replied, “Glenn, the noise you make isn’t even joyful!” This story, like most of the other family stories, never failed to make me laugh. And Grampa kept right on singing the old hymns loudly and joyfully, even if he wasn’t quite on key.
Colossians 3:23 is a verse that certainly applied to Grampa, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” (HCSB) I can’t recall him ever doing anything by halves, whether it was as a Maine Game Warden, as a member of the search and rescue team, as a pastor, as a missionary, or as a man who loved his family. He spent much of his life in enthusiastic service to God, and to others. I couldn’t begin to guess the number of people who would testify to the difference that knowing him made in their lives.
Now, Gramp would be the first to admit that he wasn’t perfect. There’s a reason why all of the Speed decedents have a healthy stubborn streak, and a bit of a temper! But there’s also a reason why we all value our family so dearly. Gramp and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but that never stopped him from giving me one of his bear hugs and telling me that he loved me. I felt secure in knowing how much my grampa loved me, and prayed for me. I knew that if I ever called him, he would pick up the phone and do anything that he could to help. Because that’s just the kind of man that he was.
Grampa Glenn once told me that we have it backwards, that we should be happy when a believer passes from this life. I’ve no doubt that he is right now rejoicing in the presence of the Savior whom he loved. I imagine him standing with one arm around Mom and the other around Aunt Pam, singing praises to God. (Maybe he’s even singing on key now!)
As much as my heart rejoices for Gramp’s sake, I’ll still shed some tears for those of us left behind. Our work here is not yet done, and so we must continue on without him. 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (HCSB) Grampa Glenn did all of those things, and I am certain that he would tell us to keep fighting the good fight, keep running the race, and most importantly, to keep the faith.