“You are God, You are Good, and I’m running home, into your arms.” – S. Whitson, J. Faulkner
Rev. Jonathan Faulkner
We wrote those words together, playing guitars at the living room table. It was 2012 and I had come up to visit my grandparents, and Uncle Scott and Aunt Kathie, and my cousin Wes on a break from school the fall of my senior year. I was writing rather prolifically at the time and I believe my Aunt was not really excited about me joining because he had not been. Still, Uncle Scott insisted that it was okay for me to work with him on the song. This is just one of the many, many memories I have with my uncle.
He may have been the family member I am closest too outside my younger brother, and since moving to Iowa we had had he and my Aunt up to the house and had plans to go see them when things finally settled down. We shared in music together, not just in our love for creating it, writing lyrics, finding chords that worked together, but in our love for listening as well. Particularly important to us were the bands Jars of Clay and Third Day. When he was here last January we played “Amazing Grace” and “Faith Like a Child Together” (if I am recalling correctly), two songs which would eventually find their way into one of Rachel and I’s livestreams. We also shared a love of Star Trek and would watch what he had taped on occasion whenever we would visit. This was, before Netflix and CBS All Access and so we had much to talk about and discuss and in common when we were together. He stood up with me at my wedding as a Groomsmen while my cousin Wes, his son, was deployed. We even picked him up and did the “Michael to David” finger pose pictured below.
Most importantly were the discussion about faith, being a diabetic who had suffered the worst of the disease, he had an interesting insight in faith in the hard times. He was not stoic, he walked with joy and dignity, especially after a point in his life where God really got through to him 10-15 years ago. A wake-up call, if you will, from the Lord that drew him closer, it was from this that the song quoted above partially came from. He knew the scriptures; he knew the Lord and I could often gain guidance and wisdom and insight from both him and my Aunt on how to navigate the often-tumultuous waters of life. He was not perfect, he struggled at times with the circumstances he suffered with, Diabetes, transplants, Kidney Dialysis, but I learned form him in how to walk through my own struggles. I could call him and knew I was going to be with love, but also with truth and in that truth, grace.
I loved my uncle, still love my uncle. I am glad I got to see him in January and wish this pandemic was over so I could have seen him last month. This is likely going to be the hardest family death to date for me for these reasons. I feel like I have lost one of the bulwarks of my faith that God provided here on Earth, I wish I could talk to him about how to overcome this grief as well, but I cannot. My Uncle loved God and he loved people and taught me to do the same.
It is very hard to sing with Jars of Clay: “When I go don’t cry for me, in my father’s arms I’ll be, wounds this world left on my soul, will all be healed and I’ll be home, sun and moon will be replaced, with the light of Jesus face, and I will not be ashamed, for my savior knows my name, it don’t matter, where you bury me, I’ll be home and I’ll be free, It don’t matter, where I lay, all my tears be washed away.”
Rest in Peace, Uncle Scott.