This week we celebrated the life of my Uncle Charles. Nearly twelve years ago, injuries he sustained in a farming accident left him a quadraplegic. His life was forever changed. My Aunt Gail's life was forever changed. But . . . I was thinking this week . . . that wheel chair did not define who he was. Sure, he had a special parking spot . . . a special spot at the table . . . my dad constructed a ramp to the door of our house so Uncle Charles could come on in . . . he even had a special spot at church. Perhaps it became hard to remember the days when he wasn't in that chair. But let me tell you about this man. That chair wasn't who he was, nor could it contain who his was. His testimony was so much bigger than that! He loved his wife. He loved his family. He loved his church. And he loved his Lord. That's who my Uncle Charles was.
And I'll miss him. We'll miss him. But I can't help but think about that new pair of legs he has now. I'll bet he hasn't stopped running and jumping yet (although I'll bet he's been spending a lot of time on his knees at the feet of Jesus, too!).
And I really can't tell you about Uncle Charles without telling you about Aunt Gail. Oh, how he loved her. And, oh, how she loved him. Their marriage was truly beautiful. After the accident . . . my aunt lovingly and gently cared for him each and every day. She never complained. She just kept on loving him. I still remember the testimony about her marriage that she shared at my wedding rehearsal. I can only aspire to be Seth's wife like my Aunt Gail was Uncle Charles' wife.
And, you know what? Uncle Charles never complained either. This was someone who loved to travel. In the years prior to the accident, Aunt Gail and Uncle Charles had done a lot of traveling - cruises, cross country. They worked on the farm. Uncle Charles drove tractors. He loved tractors! He was a deacon in his church, song leader and Sunday School superintendant. He loved to go visiting with the preacher. He never complained about not being able to walk. He never complained about having to depend on someone to do everything for him. He complained only once about his hands. As a result of the paralysis, his hands drew up so that prevented him from even using them to do most things.
Because of Uncle Charles' age at the time of the accident and the extent of his injuries, doctors told them he'd be lucky to have 10 years. Well, God had another plan. Not only did Uncle Charles have 10 years, but he and Aunt Gail celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last November! My Aunt Gail was so excited . . . I think she started planning their 50th wedding anniversary party the year of their 49th anniversary! A grand celebration it was!
We spent this past Christmas in Georgia. Mason was always pretty intrigued by Uncle Charles' wheel chair. After all, it was rather fancy. I remember him asking me several times if he could take a ride, too. I don't know that Uncle Charles really needed any help . . . but I took this picture of Mason helping him unwrap a Christmas present. I'm so thankful I captured this memory.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." ~Romans 8:28