I imagine the smile that lit his being as he looked down at hands that are now tremor free. I know his steps were sturdy and his back straight as he approached the Almighty on the throne. I bet he’s radiant as he sits before a piano made of gold and precious stones; his steady fingers caress the keys and music, clear and sweet, can be heard throughout Heaven as he pours his soul into his joyous praise to the Father who received him today.
He is so worth remembering. Many have gone on before him but an innumerable amount of people here in the living will see his obituary, hear the news and will remember. Many will remember him for his years of teaching and growing young minds. Others will remember his years spent serving a little country church in the fork. For others, his dedication to nursing home ministry. And still more will think of his worship, knowledge and prayers.
My memories are washing over me today. I think of our time together riding back and forth to play practice at a neighboring church. I was somewhere around 13 or 14 and I remember his questions about my school work, his pride in my grades, and his encouragement of my real life teenage morals and character. I can still smell his work in the hog houses that permeated his old truck. I think of the times I watched him lead worship at the rest home, the residents’ smiles and joy as they joined in with him in song. I remember him playing piano for Sunday night services and, of course, his quietly still presence in the pews ahead of us at church service after church service, year after year. I remember his excitement when he learned I’d be teaching too.
The most recents. . . A month or so ago we were catching up under the tabernacle as he watched my little one play in the sawdust. He smiled and I heard pride and love in his voice as he said “she’s cute!” And then less than 2 weeks ago, he made a quiet joke that those near enough to hear laughed. It was a real good one and was so witty. Mostly though, I remember his quiet smile and toboggan hat in that little truck that smelled of pigs as we trudged back and forth to church for practice and I’m so very thankful.
His quiet presence. His belief. His graciousness. His humbleness. His friendship. His smile. His steadfastness. His heart. His knowledge. His talents. His walk with God. His time spent in prayer. His encouragement. His love.
In a time where people seem so different from each other and life seems to be pulling us apart, many of us can agree that we share this one fact. . . We’re better people because we had the honor of knowing Winston Dail. Because of who he was, the world is a better place. I pray he knew that.
Today, with humble adoration he approached the Father he loved so much. I joyfully believe he heard the words “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Welcome home.”