The Professor of Perseverance

Yesterday my wife Vicki and I were in Knox, Indiana to attend a graveside memorial service for our dear friend Rudy.  Rudy and Vicki met when they were paired in a pie-eating contest at the beginning of their freshman year at Valparaiso University.  In a precursor to Man vs. Food, they won the contest with Vicki feeding Rudy the pie.

After Vicki and I became engaged, I inherited Rudy.  As Pastor Tim, his long-time pastor, mentioned during the service, Rudy face many challenges in his life, including bi-polar disorder and diabetes.  Yet Rudy had a marvelous sense of humor, often creating impromptu puns.  He faithfully attended Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and regularly participated in Thursday morning devotional breakfasts.  Despite his difficulties, he never was suicidal and lived his life the best he could.  For almost 20 years he would talk to me from 10-11 PM every night.  As Pastor Tim added, Rudy was a taker, but he also had an incredible desire to give.

It recently dawned on me how much Rudy had given me, although he probably never realized the depth of his contributions- patience, the ability to listen attentively, to keep going even when everything in you wants to quit.  May God daily give me grace to apply these lessons.

Rudy now experiences the fullness of God’s peace.  We were so blessed and enriched by his presence in our lives.


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Dave Henning

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