A great man…

There are men in this world that leave legacies and we are blessed to call this one Papaw Jess!  This man is by far one of the greatest men I know. I realize now that he has taught me more about life than I’ve ever thanked him for.  

Love. His love for my grandmother was and still is unbelievable. The stories he shared about their lives together made me realize what true love meant. How he cared for her, took care of her, enjoyed life with her. Their relationship was a testament to my life and he still shows that love to her today. Mamaw’s picture still sits on the coffee table and we talk about her often!  Oh how I miss her, but I can only imagine how he misses her. 

Joy. Oh the joy that you, Audrey, have brought into his life. I watch his eyes light up when you run to him. He smiles ear to ear when you play dolls with him or fix him fake coffee. He loves you. And he loves all his great grandchildren. The Lord has blessed him with a bunch of great grandkids. 

Peace. Sometimes the peace that Papaw Jess has shown actually makes me mad. While he can definitely still get worked up when the ice maker is rusting, or the wildcats are getting beat, or a telemarketer calls, or the house isn’t hot enough…he is prepared for eternity. His peace knowing that when his last breath is taken that he’ll be with the Lord Jesus Christ speaks volumes. While I hope to keep him around forever, his faith has shown me peace knowing who holds the future. (And speaking of a rusted ice maker…we went by and seen him yesterday and at 89 years old he had the ice maker completely torn apart, cleaning all the parts up because there was some rust on it. And he doesn’t even use the ice maker😂)

Longsuffering. I won’t get into all the details about how Papaw Jess has shown me the value of patience in spite of troubles, but I’m living proof that his patience and prayers influenced my life. While patience is not the biggest virtue of the Keller family😂, we seem to let the small things cause our paitence to wear thin. Papaw has shown throughout his life to be patient when it matters. 

Gentleness. Speaking truth in love. We have had many conversations over the years. Conversations about life, love, politics, faith, and much more.  We spoke about difficult topics and things happening today that would’ve never been dreamed about when he was a young man. One thing I have learned is that while he has deep convictions and holds firm to his beliefs, he speaks about difficult topics with a loving heart and attitude. He has shown me wisdom in standing strong yet showing love. 

Goodness. This man would give the shirt off his back without thinking twice. He is constantly wanting to give to veterans organizations, children’s hospitals, and much more. My first time driving a vehicle was with my papaw. We were way back in the woods in Swiss Colony, cutting wood for people in need to use for heat and he threw me the keys at 10 years old. He was always teaching me to care for others. His goodness is hard to measure because he has done so much for so many. 

Faith. As you can already tell by reading this, faith is a huge part of Papaw Jess’ life.  His Bibles on the end table have always been worn from being read so much. I will never forget hearing his deep voice singing behind me in the pew at church. And how I tried to mimick the way he sang. Everyone would be singing the melody and me and papaw would be belting out the base line. That’s a great memory. His faith is strong and he’s passed that influence down on all his children and grandkids. And I will do the best of my ability to pass that on. 

Meekness. It’s hard to meet a man as humble as papaw. A man that I always thought could do anything but I never remember him to brag about anything. He took pride in what he did but was always humble, never boastful. He taught me a work ethic that you always tried to be the best you can be. Be proud of who you are and be proud of what you do, but always be the kind of person that recognizes someone else before yourself. 

Temperance. Papaw Jess definitely taught us that alcohol could bite like a serpent. I only knew papaw to occasionally have a glass of homemade wine. Something that he and all his brothers did to boost their immune system and increase the health. It must work because all of them lived long healthy lives. Fortunately we are blessed to still have Papaw Jess around so I hope he keeps drinking his wine. I actually never knew that he did that until I was probably 28-29 years old. One night I walked in at his house and accidentally caught him with a glass. He was so embarrassed that he ended up explaining to me why he did it. 

The fruits of the spirit are ripe in Papaw Jess. A man with a legacy that will last forever. I’m thankful for every day that I have got to spend with him and I hope that we have many many more. His legacy will definitely live on in my life as I try to instill the fruits of the spirits in my children. Thank you Papaw Jess for being such an amazing man. I love you. My daughter loves you. And I know that you love her too!  

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

‭‭‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ 

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