AH-HA Moments – April 2019

This article is in memory of my brother, Don Bimler, who died suddenly on March 1, 2019. It was shared as part of the worship service at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hillside, Il, on March 9,2019 . Thanks, Don, for being my best, and only, brother, who brought many AH-HA Moments to family and friends throughout your 81 years.

IN THE NAME OF JESUS, OUR LENTEN LORD AND RESURRECTED SAVIOUR!

THIS IS A SAD, YET JOYOUS AND AH-HA, OCCASION. WE GRIEVE THE LOSS OF A HUSBAND, FATHER, GRANDPA, BROTHER, COUSIN, UNCLE, AND FRIEND. DON WILL CERTAINLY BE MISSED BY ALL OF US. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE, FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND PRESENCE AND SUPPORT FOR KAREN AND THE WHOLE FAMILY. YOU ARE OUR HOLY HUDDLE!

WE ALSO REJOICE IN THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION! FOR US, TODAY, IT’S GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER AT THE SAME TIME. AN OLD HUMOROUS SAYING GOES “FOR MIDWEST LUTHERANS, EVERYDAY IS LENT!” BUT FOR ALL CHRISTIANS, EVERY DAY IS EASTER! AFTER EVERY GOOD FRIDAY, THERE’S ALWAYS AN EASTER…AND DON IS REMINDING US OF THAT RIGHT NOW! AS WE WALK THROUGH THE LENTEN SEASON, DON IS ALREADY CELEBRATING THE RISEN LORD IN HEAVEN!

WE CELEBRATE THE JOY OF KNOWING THAT OUR REDEEMER LIVES, AND THAT DON IS EXPERIENCING THAT JOY RIGHT NOW. I REMEMBER ONE TIME WHEN DON AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT FUNERALS AND WE AGREED THAT THEY SHOULD BE JOYFUL AND HAPPY TIMES, AND DON SAID, ‘IF THERE WON’T BE ANY LAUGHING AND SMILING AT MY FUNERAL, I’M NOT SHOWING UP!” DON, WE ARE ALL HERE TO GRIEVE YOUR DEATH….AND ALSO TO CELEBRATE YOUR ETERNAL LIFE, AS WELL AS OUR OWN, WITH SADNESS AND JOY IN OUR HEARTS!

OUR DAD DIED WHEN HE WAS 50 YEARS OLD. I REMEMBER THE AGREEMENT DON AND I MADE AT MY DAD’S FUNERAL. FIRST, WE WOULD WORK HARD AT LIVING LONGER THAN 50 YEARS …AND WE DID…AND WE ALSO AGREED THAT EACH OF US WOULD SPEAK AT EACH OTHER’S FUNERAL. (THINK ABOUT THAT!) AT LEAST I KEPT MY PROMISE, ALTHOUGH KNOWING MY BIG BROTHER, HE JUST MIGHT SHOW UP AT MY FUNERAL AS WELL!

LOOK AROUND YOU AT THIS HOLY HUDDLE OF PEOPLE WHO LOVED, SUPPORTED, PLAYED, LAUGHED, ARGUED, AND ENCOURAGED DON AND KAREN AND FAMILY THROUGH THESE MANY YEARS. WE THANK YOU FOR THAT. AND NOW WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER AS WE CONTINUE TO WALK THE LENTEN ROAD TO THE CROSS AND THE RESURRECTION!

HOW DO WE DESCRIBE DON? JUST ASK HIS FAMILY –KAREN, KIDS, GRANDKIDS, AND OTHERS. FOR ONE THING, HE REALLY DID “CELEBRATE GOD’S GIFT OF AGING!” AS HE AGED, HE CONTINUED TO LOVE AND SUPPORT HIS KIDS, GRANDKIDS, FRIENDS, CLUBS, DARTS, CHURCH….KAREN SAYS HE BECAME AN EXPERT AT CROSSWORD PUZZLES AND SUDOKU. HE NEVER MISSED A SEGMENT OF JEOPARDY …BUT NEVER MADE ANY MONEY FROM IT EITHER!

HIS KIDS AND GRAND KIDS WROTE THEIR IMPRESSIONS AND REMEMBRANCES OF Don. WONDERFUL AND POWERFUL MEMORIES OF HOW IMPORTANT DAD/GRANDPA TAUGHT, LISTENED, AND ENCOURAGED THEM ALL.HIS LIFE WAS ALL ABOUT FAITH, FAMILY, FATHER, GRANDFATHER,GARDENS, FRIENDS,AND FISHING, AMONG OTHER INTERESTS. DESCRIPTIVE WORDS SUCH AS TRADITIONAL, KIND, STUBBORN, A MODEL (TEACHING CAREER), HARD-WORKER, OPINIONATED, PROVIDER, A HAT FOR EVERY OCCASION, AND THE FACT THAT THEY SELDOM HEARD A DISCOURAGING WORD FROM HIM…. EXCEPT PERHAPS AT ONE OF THEIR FAMILY KITCHEN DEBATES!

HE WAS A MASTER BUILDER OF SPECIAL CHRISTMAS GIFTS FROM HIS WOOD-WORKSHOP. THEY RECALL HIM STANDING UP A LOT, BECAUSE, AS HE EXPLAINED, ‘OTHERWISE I FALL ASLEEP!” THEY REMEMBER MANY OF HIS FAMOUS QUOTES, LIKE, ‘I DON’T SHOVEL SNOW – I BELIEVE THAT THE LORD GIVETH AND THE LORD WILL TAKETH AWAY!”

KAREN EVEN MENTIONED THAT THEY HAD NEVER HAD AN ARGUMENT IN ALL OF THEIR 54 YEARS OF MARRIAGE ….BUT THAT THEY DID HAVE A LOT OF CONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS!  KAREN ,AS WE KNOW, HAS THAT GREAT GIFT OF PATIENCE !

IN DON YOU GOT WHAT YOU SAW- A KIND, HUMBLE, FUN-LOVING,UN-ASSUMING ENCOURAGER, WHO CARED SO MUCH FOR KIDS – HIS OWN AND OTHERS – THAT HE TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL INDUSTRIAL ARTS FOR OVER 30 YEARS. (AND IS THE REASON ONE OF HIS GRANDKIDS IS A TEACHER HERSELF!)

HILLSIDE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT DON BIMLER. THOUGH STEMACS MAY BE GONE, JUST LIKE THE OLD SHOPPING CENTER, AND OTHER CHANGES ARE MADE, DON’S SPIRIT OF HARD WORK , LOYALTY , COMMITMENT TO THE PAST, AND LOVE FOR HIS FAMILY AND NEIGHBORS WILL NEVER BE SURPASSED.

WHAT IS DON’S LEGACY THAT HE LEAVES US? TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN WORD AND ACTION, TO FORGIVE AND HEAL BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS, TO USE THE GIFTS WE HAVE AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE GIFTS WE DON’T HAVE…AND TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL …IN THE LORD! TO SEE AGING AS A BLESSING TO CELEBRATE RATHER THAN A BURDEN TO BEAR!

Charlie Brown once said, “One day we are all going to die”. Snoopy REPLIED “Yes, but all the rest of the days we will live”. LET US ALL CONTINUE LIVING THE LIFE THE LORD HAS GIVEN US, AS WE SHARE HOPE, LOVE, AND JOY THE WAY THE LORD DID THROUGH DON!

REST WELL, BROTHER, IN THE ARMS OF THE RESURRECTED LORD! THANKS FOR HELPING US CELEBRATE EASTER EARLY THIS YEAR!

AND LET ALL OF GOD’S HOLY HUDDLE SAY, ‘AMEN’ AND ‘AH-HA’!

Rich Bimler