Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tribute to Grady Columbus Shaw, Jr.

Grady Columbus Shaw, Jr
January 5, 1926- January 24, 2010

I had five older brother’s whom I loved dearly.
But none did I love more than I came to love Grady Shaw,
Jr, who became my little brother when he was not
quite 13 and I was not quite 16, when his oldest
brother Charles Shaw and I were married.

While my husband was at work, I sometimes
played ball and other games with my new little brothers

My mother-in-law whom I came to love as "Mama Shaw" kept her sons, Grady and his younger brother Billy in short pants as long as she could at a time when boys put on long pants in their teens as a "rite of passage" to show they were growing up. Also, as was common in those days, his name Grady Jr. was usually shortered to just "Junior."

Shorts are the daily Summer attire of men and older boys now, but those of you near my age and will remember the 1930's was a time when men and older boys did not wear short pants.

Grady, a bright and good looking boy knew this so he kept trying to get his mother to agree that he was old enough for her to buy him long pants.

A teen age African American girl sometimes helped Mama Shaw in the kitchen. One day
she told Grady, in the hearing of his older brothers, that she did not know why he complained about his Mama making him wear short pants because "he had such pretty legs." Those of you who knew his fun loving brothers, know this gave them much material to laugh about and to tease “Junior” about his "pretty legs."

Grady was inducted into the Army Air Force during WWII, Once when home for a brief
furlough, I mentioned that I had known Grady since he was in short pants… he looked at his Mother and said, “I would still be in short pants if I had not gone into the Air Force.”

I talked to Grady just last Wednesday afternoon. (the day before his death) Grady was his same unselfish self. Grady asked me about my great granddaughter Lily who has Leukemia. He asked me to pray for Morelli, our cousin by marriage who is trying to adjust to life without her dear husband,Gordon Norton, a man we all loved who died recently.

Grady was the same dear Christian gentleman who continued to his last day on earth with more concern about others than himself.

So we gather today to celebrate the beautiful dedicated Christian life and witness for Jesus that Grady lived among us and to hold his life before us as one utterly unique and outstanding human life.

And we also gather to celebrate life eternal through Jesus Christ, the one whom Grady trusted as his Savior and Lord…many years ago,

We grieve today and will miss Grady as long as any of us live, But we grieve not as those without hope. Our Bible teaches that out life here is just the beginning . For the Christian, death is just a passage way into life everlasting. This brief life is a preparation for a much larger life!’

I heard Christipher Reeve interviewed one morning several years before he
died. He was asked what he had learned since he was paralyzed in an accident. He said he had learned that we are not our body. Christopher may or may not have known it, but this is the great good news of the Christian faith that we proclaim and celebrate today! We all know that our bodies, at best are wearing out. But we are not our body!

Paul tells us we are more than our body. We will get a new body...a transcendent body...something like the body of Jesus after the resurrection, when He could walk through doors and be ascended into heaven. Jesus walked out of that grave saying, "Because I live, you shall live also." Thanks be to God.

I will close with reading a simple poem I have read at other funeral services and Charles read it at severl services. I wrote the short poem many years ago on a visit to East View Cemetary, the same cemetary where Grady was buried two hours ago.

We bought the plot…sight unseen while Charles was still in a busy pastorate. When we finally went down to Conyers to see the cemetery lot, it was late in the day. And I began to notice lights going on in homes near the cemetery. It seemed like a parable to me, reminiscent of parents leaving a light on until their Children returned home at night;

My father always left a light for me
Against the nighttime shadows… lovingly
He left the doors unlocked…it opened wide
And I could safely find my way inside!

Beyond the grave…I see a light…I see
The lights of home…God left a light for me,
So I can walk on home…with faith…not fear
I see the Lights of Home…and God is near!

Grady would want us to lift up our eyes and our hearts and look beyond East View
cemetery to the Light of God… the Light of the World . For Grady…the light has come.
Grady's race is run…Henceforth is laid up for him a crown of Glory. Thanks be to God! Amen!