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Funeral of Glenn Halpain (My Friend)

 

God gave us the gift of memory so that we can have roses in December and snow in July. Glenn will always be alive in our memories. At times when we feel lonely, we can sit back and recall the happy companionship we have had with a true friend or loved one in times past.

 

POEM
If I can leave behind me here and there
A friend or two to say when I am gone
That I had helped to make their pathways fair,
Had brought them smiles when they were bowed with care,
The riches of this world I'll carry on.
If only three or four shall pause to say,
When I have passed beyond this earthly sphere,
That I brought gladness to them on a day
When bitterness was theirs, I'll take away
More riches than a billionaire leaves here.

I think Glenn left this world with more riches than a billionaire leaves here. He helped make many pathways fair when others were bowed down with care. He left this world with many deeply appreciative for his friendship.

 

Proverbs 18:24

A man of many companions may come to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. NIV

 

Glenn often introduced me as his brother, Jim. It wasn’t a spiritual title; he adopted me as a fleshly brother. But in many respects he was closer than a brother. I have known Glenn and valued his friendship for almost thirty years. I have literally moved from coast to coast, but we have always kept in touch. Sometimes Glenn and Oberia visited church where I preached, but I was never their minister, we were just friends. To me that was much better than just being his minister or pastor, although I baptized Glenn and Oberia about three years ago. He called me and told me they wanted to be baptized. They drove up that weekend and I baptized both of them. My wife and I were overjoyed.

 

As I talked to Glenn that day, I realized that Glenn wasn’t looking for a church doctrine to embrace, he was looking for forgiveness—he was looking for God. As a child his family was affiliated with the church of Christ, although he had attended different churches over the years. Over the years he had talked to me about different church doctrines concerning salvation, but he finally realized his need to come to grips with his own personal salvation. I think over the years he had sought to embrace several church doctrines, but had never really come to grips with his personal need of forgiveness. He indicated to me on that day that he had always wondered if God could forgive him. I saw that he was coming to grips with his own forgiveness. It was because he was beginning to come to grips with his own mortality.

 

Life is always lived backwards as we learn by experience. What we have learned by the time we reach the sunset years is what it seems we should have known at 15 or 25. Glenn was like most of us. If he could have gone back in life with the wisdom he gained over the years, he would have done many things different. I think we as Christians call this repentance.

 

Of course, we are never given a chance to live life over--live is not lived backwards. However, living life over is not the key to life. The key is discovering God’s forgiveness despite all the hurt you have inflicted upon others, or others have inflicted upon you.

 

Glenn made a statement to me years ago that I haven’t forgotten “Time wounds all heals,” although in time I saw him reach a point where he realized that God heals all wounds—those wounds you have received and those you have inflicted. When we discover healing for either--we discover how to love as though we have never been hurt. I think Glenn was discovering this aspect of life in his last days.

 

I read where someone defined mercy as “tenderness of heart that disposes a person to overlook injuries or to treat an offender better than he deserves.” As Glenn’s friends we realize that he often treated us better than we deserved. He was a man on a mission of mercy.

 

The Glenn I knew exemplified mercy to others. He had a heart of gold. He lived in the realization that it was more blessed to give than to receive. The quality of his life was defined by how he was always willing to give of himself. Glenn didn’t always buy the best of things for himself—he always reserved the best he had for those he sought to help. Glenn gave people money as though he didn’t need it himself. For that he was richly blessed.

 

Glenn gave people cars, food, money, housing, and paid college tuition for kids he knew to attend college. If he saw someone struggling, they didn’t have to ask for help. He had discovered the truth that it was more blessed to give than to receive.

 

I have told my wife on numerous occasions that God blessed Glenn with finances because he was so willing to bless others with what God had given him. I truly believe this was the key to Glenn always having enough. This is the key to financial success in God’s order of things.

 

Matthew 5:7

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy. NIV

 

Glenn and I had a conversation about how he sometimes offered help only to be taken advantage of. I told him that it really didn’t matter how some take advantage of us; what matters is our motivation in giving. He gave it for the right reason even if it was used wrongly. Our motivation is what God accepts regardless of how it is received. Proper motivation is what God rewards. Glenn was always rewarded. He really left this world richer than a billionaire.

 

I thought Glenn would never make it out of the hospital last April. When he got out I told him that I believed God had given him a reprieve from death because of all of our prayers. I ask him to make sure he made the best of his reprieve. You see, Glenn knew he was at the end of the road. He sold his shop at Whitten; he got rid of his tools. I believe he would have moved Oberia back to Kentucky within a year.

 

Glenn and I talked about heaven after he got out of the hospital. I told him that if we missed heaven this life will have been in vain. He sincerely agreed. Glenn was relinquishing his hold on this world because he was looking toward eternity.

 

He gave himself to Oberia. She never had to worry about anything. He was always buying her flowers and special cards. He was a devoted husband.

 

I will miss calling Glenn in the mornings when I am headed to the office as I often did. I will miss speaking to him by phone on weekends. I will miss not being able to keep in touch. However, Glenn is more alive than he has ever been. May we all join him in a better world some day?

 

Our Father, we come before you on this occasion acknowledging that you are the help and strength of all who put their trust in you. You are the Maker of all things. Time and the destinies of men and women are in your hands. We bow to your greatness and sovereignty. We ask that you would comfort and strengthen those of us here today who mourn the passing of this loved. In Jesus' Name. Amen.  

 

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