Two years ago this morning, God called my Dad home.
His battle with cancer was done.
It’s hard to say that he’s gone.
But he is.
He’s not here for the birthdays and the family gatherings.
He’s not here to listen and share about what’s going on.
There are times when the loss is felt very deeply.
Times when he’s missed for his sense of humor.
Times when the grief comes up suddenly.
And then there’s the 9:40pm bowl of ice cream that became a routine.
A routine that we often smile and joke about – especially while eating ice cream at 9:40pm.
It’s Hard to Say, but I see him in many ways and many places.
⁃ Looking down at his granddaughter’s graduation – a graduation that he missed by 32 days.
⁃ Looking down at an emotional Thanksgiving service that focused on being thankful in spite of the struggles.
It’s hard to say he’s gone.
It’s hard to say he’s not coming back even though we’ll see him again some day.
But we have so much to be grateful for.
He grew up as a little boy from Muskegon and became “a minister from a small farm community called Hudsonville.” And he always underestimated the role God called him to.
He was a great example of living a humble life while being open to what God’s got planned.
And now I’m going to end this with something I wrote on Facebook back in January…..
“So, this afternoon, I could not be prouder. He stepped way out of his comfort zone and spoke in front of an almost completely full Grand Rapids Planning Commission meeting. What did he say:
“When debating where to put a marijuana dispensary, consider your legacy. What is the next generation going to think of this generation and the decisions we make? What are they going to think about putting a marijuana dispensary across the street from a church and the church’s youth group building?
Think about that when you make your decisions.”
He said more than that, but I’m not sure I could do it justice.
At the end the commission manager thanked “that young man who spoke so succinctly and challenged us.”
That young man is my son.
I’m proud of you, Isaac Vanderwell.
Thanks for being there and thanks for letting God use your heart and passion for others.
Love you, man,
P.S. I saw Grandpa Vanderwell in the way you spoke, challenged everyone but also made God’s love come through. I’m sure he was watching and smiling.”