For more than 20 years I have had the privilege of sharing faith and life around a table with Roy Stainbrook at our men’s small group meetings. Every two weeks we gather to share life and God’s word. During that time I believe we have looked at almost every book in the bible, with the possible exception of Leviticus and Numbers. Roy never considered himself a scholar of the word, yet he was always prepared, always read the passages and presented a down to earth point of view.
Faith was something you had, it was just that simple. Grace was a gift from God and life was good.
He always brought a smile, a sense of humor, and a story. From his father the game warden, his sisters tying he to the dining room chair, his time in the military or adventures in tracking down past due loan payments and repo-ing cars or mobile homes. People could see his faith even when he was repo-ing their cars. I think it was the smile and the honesty.
For more than 20 years Roy Stainbrook and Roy Brown spent the first Tuesday night of each month at Clifton Sanctuary serving the homeless men at the shelter. Even now they would collect bread, salad, butter and drink mix on the first Tuesday to send to Clifton with the current volunteers. When I go to Clifton, they still talk about Roy, his friendly smile and giving spirit. They miss his visits but more importantly they remember the joy he shared.
From Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Christian theologian:
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”
On a more down to earth not I close with the wisdom of the 100 acre woods:
Piglet asks Pooh how do you spell love? To which Pooh replies you don’t, you feel it. That is my friend Roy, he brought the love of God to all he met.
“If you think you’re beaten, you are; for out in the world you’ll find success begins with the will to win. It’s all in your state of mind.”
We don’t know who said it first but we do know who said it most.
Roy C. Stainbrook — June 22, 1931 — September 28, 2015