Goodbye, Joel

I just got back from Texas where I preached a funeral and visited with my sister for a few days. My brother-in law, Joel Butts, died two weeks ago. They only recently discovered that he had heart problems. After surgery and horrible complications, he’d finally made a complete recovery and was feeling fine, going to his construction job every day. Then he woke up one night with chest pain, collapsed in the driveway, and died quickly at the hospital. We don’t know what went wrong.

As Joel & Reneeyou can see from the recent picture, he was a big ol’ guy and only fifty five years old. He was good to me. He was good to everybody. It hurts to see him go. I wish I knew more people like him.

I heard a story once about a man who came into a country store and asked “Where’s Earl?” and the worker behind the counter answered “Earl don’t work here no more.” So the man then asked “Well, who’s filling his vacancy?” and the answer came back “Earl didn’t leave no vacancy.”

Joel left a big ol’ vacancy. He had no enemies and his friends loved him dearly — but none so much as my sister. She’ll recover one day, but for now she’s overwhelmed by grief.