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The calendar has been replaced and most of us are writing 2019 instead of the year-old 2018. There will be many changes for most of us in the next 12 months: Some experiences will be happy, and some not so happy. That's life. Some of us will experience joyful advances, and some will have set-backs. That, also, is life.

While I always look forward to change and often make it happen, I seldom have a depressed outlook. Nevertheless, things do happen that can generate sadness and sorrow. How do we respond? Is there a way to prepare for it? Uncle Bert said, "Yes."

Egbert Hasbrouck was my father's brother-in-law. He was a fun uncle, but he was serious down deep inside. I knew he was a part-time minister of the Gospel, but for most my life I didn't realize he was also a poet.

In November of 2014 Carol and I drove to Oak Dale, Tenn., to help Uncle Bert and Aunt Evelyn celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary and Uncle Bert's 95th birthday anniversary. We had a great time, and he still played the piano without missing a beat or a note.

During that visit, Uncle Bert gave me a copy of a poem he wrote back on Aug. 5, 1991. It's titled: "A Day At A Time."

I take life a day at a time,

That's the way that it's given to me.

Don't make plans too far down the line,

Today's good enough, don't you see?

I may be here on the morrow,

And then again, I may not.

But my heart's not filled with sorrow,

For life's given me a lot.

For my Father's in control,

And He's been so good to me.

He gave His Son to save my soul,

His Grace is sufficient for me.

So I take each day that He gives me,

And fill it to the brim

Until He comes to take me

To go and live with Him

That day came 27 years later on Aug. 1, 2018. Cousin Cathy (Uncle Bert's daughter) sent me the card she had prepared for Uncle Bert's Home-Coming Celebration. On the card was his last poem. It's titled: "Miss Me -- But Let Me Go."

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little -- but not too long,

And not with your head bowed low;

Remember the love that we once shared:

Miss me -- but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take

And each must go it alone.

It's all a part of the Master's plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we both know

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me -- but let me go!

I miss Uncle Bert, but I don't worry about him because he is in heaven with Aunt Evelyn and the rest of the family.

I often think of my parents and parents-in-law. They are all in heaven now, and we miss them, but we let them go. With them in the loving Presence of Almighty God, which is pain-free, worry-free, and politic-free, I would be selfish to want them back.

Dad's cancer is gone. Carol's dad's mesothelioma is gone. Both of our mothers have their memory restored. And they all agree with Uncle Bert's statement: Miss Me -- But Let Me Go.

In the next 12 months, some of us will change vocations, some will change geographical locations where we will bid adieu to friends -- for a while, at least. In the changes, we will lose track of other friends, and may not see them again until we get to heaven. In those situations, we will miss them, but in the course of a healthy life, we'll continue to make new friends.

And when friends or family members pass away, we will need to remember Uncle Bert's admonition: Miss Me -- But Let Me Go.

As we do that, we allow the Holy Spirit of Almighty God to heal us of the pain, and to infuse joy that Uncle Bert wants us to have, and that the Holy Spirit wants to give. Then the Lord will lift us up above the shadows of pain and sorrow, and plant our feet on higher ground of joy and peace.

-- Gene Linzey is a speaker, author and mentor. Send comments and questions to Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 01/10/2019

Print Headline: Uncle Bert And Life

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