So Jesus Made Haste — For Uncle Bud

It was just a week ago today that I posted, saying that I never expected a month to pass before my next post, but it had. So, why am I posting just a week later?[1] I just have to tell you. This past week has been like a life time for me.

In the last post I threw out the Latin phrase “festina lente” which means “make haste slowly” and I said that this should be my motto. I noted that I can do the “lente” part, the slow part, and Jesus, in the fullness of time, will do the “festina” part, making haste.

And so Jesus has made haste in our family, for the fullness of time did come for our dear Uncle Bud, just last Sunday morning as he was finishing a good breakfast in the cafeteria of the nursing home. Uncle Bud, Sir Uncle Bud, as some of us called him, had just finished his typical breakfast. Two eggs over easy and toast. Delicious. He was in good spirits and appeared to be doing pretty well for his 97, nearing 98 years.

This day, Sunday, September 29, marked one week that he had been in The Heritage, an excellent nursing home, in Findlay, Ohio. Aunt Mary had joined him there on Monday, the next day. Irony. Aunt Mary was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, September 17, and when Uncle Bud came in to visit her there the next day, he too was admitted. First Mary to the hospital and then Bud, and then Bud to the nursing home and then Mary. (Note the previous post.)

Aunt Mary and Uncle Bud were put in rooms across from each other and spent their days together and ate meals together for a week. Uncle Bud adjusted to the nursing home much better than I expected. His first day there, we visited him in the evening.  Paul and Uncle Bud watched the Pittsburg Steelers play against the San Fransisco 49ers.

Looking over the facility and each of their rooms, for Mary’s was ready for her to arrive the next day, we were very pleased. The Heritage does not smell like a nursing home. The rooms are spacious, well decorated, and comfortable. The staff were warm and so ready to help.

My sister and her husband visited the next day. My oldest cousin, her husband, and some of their children had taken charge, conscientiously and kindly seeing to the needs of their aunt and uncle, with the help of several other cousins who live in or near Findlay.

Aunt Mary was 47 when she married Uncle Bud. I was the only family member to attend the wedding, because I lived in Scotts Valley, California (south of San Jose) at the time, and they lived in  southern California. They were married in Hollywood, California at their church, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, and Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, their pastor (who later became the US Senate Chaplain), married them.

I flew down to LA, and they picked me up at the airport that week end. I remember that they took me out to eat at Wendy’s (which was rather new then, at least to California) because it reminded Mary of a favorite old fashioned hamburger place in our home town of Findlay, Ohio called Wilson’s. Wendy’s frosty’s were almost as good as Wilson’s chocolate malts. Interestingly, twelve of us met and ate together at Wilson’s before heading to the funeral on Thursday afternoon. Connections. Memories.

So, you see what has happened. The passing of someone from the older guard has me musing. Reminiscing. Appreciating. Feeling warm about many memories and disappointed about some things left undone. . . .

Uncle Bud was 56 when he married my single aunt. My mother had two single, school teacher sisters, both graduates of Bob Jones University, a very conservative Christian college. Aunt Martha and Aunt Mary, career elementary school teachers, travelers, and cultural introducers to many of us, had huge impacts on the lives of many of their nieces and nephews — certainly on me.

This was Mary’s first and only marriage. This was Bud’s second. Bud’s previous wife had two young children, as I remember, about ages 2-4. He adopted both of them and raised them, but at some point, some years after the children were grown, the marriage ended. By the time Bud married Mary, each of the children were married, and there was one granddaughter. They attended the wedding, so I met them.  They did not maintain a relationship with Bud which was a great hurt to Uncle Bud. Fortunately, our family adopted him. Mary and Bud moved from California to the Findlay Family Farm (as I call it in my posts) back in the mid 1980s and built their own home on the farm.

Uncle Bud was knighted by the French government a few years ago, because he was a World War II vet who participated in D-Day and the storming of Normandy. He landed on Utah beach. Advancing toward the shore, the guy next to him was shot and killed. Bud was wounded, sent to a hospital in England, recovered, was sent back out, fought more, was wounded again, and was finally sent home. He earned many awards, all framed. I didn’t count how many. One is the Purple Heart.

At the grave site, Aunt Mary was given his flag, properly folded, and presented to her on behalf of the president of the United States. A 21 gun salute honored him, along with taps.

The funeral was rich in honor and memory of Uncle Bud, Sir Bernard Berkebile. It also was rich in honor for Sir Bud’s Savior, Jesus Christ.

Seven years ago, Uncle Bud said to my daughter, Amanda, at the end of a family gathering at the Findlay Family Farm, “Well, this will be the last time you see me.” He expected to be gone before Christmas, but he kept hanging on, waiting for the Lord to call him home.

You know I am writing a Bible study entitled A Navigator’s Guide Through Suffering and Joy. In  the last post I stated that the study will be a very practical, theological study.  It is lived theology. It is living theology. Theology that is lived is theology that shapes us through our circumstances, especially our challenges and sufferings. Aunt Mary has lived her theology, as it has grown and has grown her for some 88 years.  I wrote that this lived theology “is the theology of Uncle Bud’s patience in waiting for Heaven.” Interesting that I wrote this on September 27, and just two days later, his patience was satisfied. Hope fulfilled. Into the presence of Jesus he flew.

Appropriately, Mary requested that two songs be sung at the funeral: “I’ll fly Away” and “On the Wings of a Snow White Dove.” My cousin, Doug, sang the latter (lyrics by Marty Robbins). He had sung it at the funeral of his grandfather, Richard, one of Aunt Mary’s seven brothers. Aunt Mary, the last living of ten children, wanted Doug to sing it in honor of Bud, her husband of nearly 41 years.

On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove


When troubles surround us
When evils come
The body grows week
The spirit grows numb
When these things beset us
He doesn’t forget us
He sends down his love
On the wings of a dove


When Noah had drifted

On the flood many days

He searched for land

In various ways

Troubles he had some

But wasn’t forgotten

He sent him His love

On the wings of a dove


On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove


May each of us also accept the love that God has sent us in Jesus, and may we too, someday, fly away, into the arms of His pure, sweet love.          


I was going to attach the first draft of chapter one for A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy here at the end of this article. Instead, I’m going to give you a link to Uncle Bud’s obituary, for those who care to check it out.

[1] My publishing rhythms are uneven. My goal has been to post once a month. Now, I’ve increased my goal to twice a month. I may, for a temporary period, try to post weekly. Irregular posting patterns, I’m told, do not promote one’s blog site. I do what I can, and you’ll just have to be patient with me, thank you very much, or pass me by.

 I’ll plan to post chapter one next week. So, you won’t be surprised when you receive another JNC email notice (if you subscribe) so soon. The introductory chapter is still available to read via attachment in the previous two posts (part A and part B). I look forward to more input from you, and hope my work, even in draft form, blesses you. 


Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Theology | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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