Our church administrator, Harry Huff, is 85 years old and has been on staff at the church for 12 years. He is old enough to be my grandfather, yet I would consider him one of my very close friends. He is retiring at the end of March so our church had a retirement party for him after service today. Following is a copy of the note I stuck in Harry's card. It was personal to Harry, but I think it tells about the kind of person Harry has been since I've known him.
Congratulations on your retirement...you certainly deserve it. We are so very happy for you and pray the Lord provides the finances and helath for both you and Arleen to enjoy yourselves.
I guess I've known for a number of years that I would one day be writing a note like this. Being a long-timer myself, I knew the day would come that you would retire leaving a big hole in our hearts and in the office, but I never figured I would somehow be responsible to take over all you do. Now I'm sad and overwhelmed at the same time! This is definitely bitter-sweet for me...I"m happy for you because you deserve a great retirement and sad for me as I 'm going to miss seeing you 3-4 days a week.
Over the years, I've found it interesting that one of the few people I consider a really good friend is old enough to be my grandfather. You have shown your years through your patience and wisdom, but your sense of fun and good humor have kept you young. Of course, there is all that work you do to keep you young too...most people half your age can't keep up with you. You have certainly shown us all what a good work ethic looks like.
Wow, speaking of the things you have shown us...I have learned so much from you. You have demonstrated a hunger for and a knowledge of the Word of God like so very few other people I have ever known. We've spent enough time together that I know some of the things that frustrate you dealing with people, but never in my life have I met a person as loving and patient as you are with people. And what has really challenged me is the fact that you have Holy Ghost discernment, so you know when peope are in trouble because of their own decisions, you know when people are not being honest with you and when they are just trying to sell you something...yet you just treat them with love and respect. No matter who asks you to do what, you are always willing to jump up and do it right away, and you never seem to be inconvenienced by it. And you are always willing to teach somebody how to do something if it will help them.
I didn't know you before you were saved, but to hear you talk, Christ has truly made you into a new creation, old things passed away, all things new. Thank you for being an example of Christ and an inspiriation to me. Most of all, thank you for being my friend. I will miss you in the office! I love ya!