Gene died this weekend. That hardly seems the right way to describe what happened, but it is what we call it. Gene sat down at the computer while he was waiting for Kitty to finish fixing breakfast. When the biscuits were ready, she called him, but got no response. Kitty called again and still no answer from Gene, so she sent a grandchild who reported back. "Grandaddy's asleep in his chair." When Kitty went to see, Gene had already stepped into eternity.
It was just that quick. He was here when Kitty started stirring the biscuits up and by the time the biscuits were done, his time on earth was, too.
Oh, how his family will miss this kind and funny man. You could never find a more gentle, humble fellow. This morning, I was studying in Luke about the transfiguration and looking again at the "gleaming" garments that Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were wearing. The word for "gleaming" literally means "flashing like lightning". If all three of them were dressing in flashing-lightning outfits, maybe that's what everyone wears in heaven. Maybe that's what Gene is wearing in heaven. I laughed right out loud at the image of precious Gene Grubbs striding down the streets of gold (a very impressive sight in itself) in one of those flashing-lightning outfits. I could just imagine his face and how he takes delight in everything that comes his way. He's probably still laughing about that heavenly outfit.
Somehow, the image of Gene and the lightning robe has made his move to heaven a lot easier to take. I know Kitty and Jerome and Marty and their families will miss him terribly, but when we think about all the fun Gene is having, it seems like a mighty good thing for Gene. It's a little like a promotion.
I hope, when my turn comes, I step into eternity just as quickly as Gene did. Even more importantly, I hope I leave behind the kind of legacy of love, goodness, and generosity that Gene left. I hope I've impacted my world the way Gene did his. (To be honest, I also hope I get to wear a flashing-lightning robe, too.)
Gene wasn't expecting to step into eternity Saturday morning, but he did, and he was ready. We never know when our time will come, so we would do well to live ready, too.