Posted by Gretchen Passantino on December 16, 2003 at 11:08:16:
In Reply to: Bob, if you're listening... posted by donna miller on December 15, 2003 at 01:54:20:
Donna, I remember with fondness those days when we had no children and our husbands had plenty of hair. The richness God has poured into our respective lives over the years inspires awe in me toward our loving Father -- to think that He not only loved us enough to save us; but He was faithful enough to mature us; and He was trusting enough to bless both our marriages with children we have watched grow from tiny infants in the womb to adult followers of Christ. Now Bob is the first of us to change in a way we will all eventually experience. The thought is both fearful and reassuring -- fearful to leave all that is comforting and known for all that is unknown; yet reassuring because the transition is made in God's loving arms. I often told Bob he was God's little spoiled brat because God always answered his prayers and questions nearly immediately and overabundantly. He desired so deeply to know Christ in all his fullness, and once again, God obliged and Bob forged ahead of us!
: Bob, if you're listening from your exalted place in heaven, let me just say to you, what an honor it has been for Chuck and I to have known you since that little Bible Study in Seal Beach you and Gretchen led. That was 27 years ago...we were in our 20s and all 4 of us were newlyweds. I remember taking prodigious notes on the various views of the Fall: sacradotalism, infralapsirianism (I think) and every other 'ism' in between. I remember my intense thirst for truth and how you and G never tired of discussing and analyzing every detail of a question. Your intensity I have never encountered before or since, and although we didn't spend much time together recently, just knowing you are no longer on the planet makes me lonely.
: What I think so ironic about you is the combination of attributes God knit together in your mother's womb. I imagine most men of your intellectual prowess learn early that they have the advantage over others and can use that advantage to rise to the top of the socio-economic food chain. But with all that intellectual power, you at the same time possess the most humble of spririts. You could have used your gifts to make your life luxurious and comfortable, but you chose, along with your soulmate, to be rich toward God instead, laying up treasure in heaven. Which is why, as a Catholic, I assume you bypassed Purgatory completely and now look down on us from that 'high position' James talks about. At least it's safe to say you now know whether or not there IS a Purgatory!:)
: All kidding aside...Thank you. Thank you for all the time you took to listen...to answer my endless questions, to discuss my issues and to care. Never making me feel judged, even when you disagreed. As so many others have posted, one never felt rushed, like you had anything else to do than 'be there' for whatever need was before you. It makes me think that your heart embraced so many people, it grew and grew and grew until it was so full of love it just couldn't hold anymore, so it burst. Sort of like the heart of our Saviour, Jesus.
: Thank you for remaining faithful to Him and finishing well. The last snapshot of you we are left with is a man fully devoted to His God without wavering and that image will encourage us to finish well too. Saint Bob, pray for us.:)
: Gretchen...my sweet friend...I don't know how I missed the announcement of Bob's passing and memorial service, but I can hardly say the name 'Bob' without adding 'Gretchen' and visa versa. You were a team unlike any I have seen, so matched you finished each other's sentences. I cannot imagine how this loss must be affecting you and your kids and grandkids and extended family. My heart breaks for you at the same time rejoicing that heaven has made room for one of it's children who paved the way for so many others. Actually, knowing Bob is there makes heaven just that much more appealing and encourages me, as the Apostle Peter exhorted,to "make my calling and election sure" by remaining faithful to the Author of my salvation, just like Bob and Gretchen. How grateful I am for the friendship we have shared and the faith we have lived.
: May the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your heart and mind in this time of mixed emotions,Gretchen. Hug your family for me, please.
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