I can’t remember ever hearing Joe complain. About anything.
It’s possible I’m forgetting, but I’m pretty sure he was just one of those people who never complains (I’ve known several people like that; wish I were one of them). I know he got irritated at times, but even as a young boy, he rarely let his emotions spill over onto other people.
My friend Sally, who knew Joe from about age nine, recently shared her thoughts: “I can’t ever remember him being unkind or complaining. He seemed to have a sort of quiet inner stamina.” I like her term “quiet inner stamina”—I think that sums up Joe pretty well. The last several years of his life he was in and out of the hospital (usually for extreme nausea, or aphasia/mild seizure activity), he had to have his arm stuck with a needle almost weekly, sometimes by people who—ahem—seemed to need more practice (there I go complaining), he took powerful medications and tasteless supplements, his diet was somewhat restrictive (and you already know how he felt about food), and he endured increasing physical limitations. Yet he accepted his situation and lived his best life each day. How does a person walk that journey with such grace?
My best guess is that he chose to focus on the bigger picture:
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
Joe believed there are much better things to come than what we see and experience in this life. He was living for that day—the day he would know and enjoy his Savior face-to-face. He made the most of his time here on earth, investing in people from all walks of life in many different ways. But he often seemed to feel out of place, like a visitor in a foreign land.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)
I, too, often feel out of place in this life. But unlike Joe, I invest much of my energy in my own comfort. Even in his absence, he continues to challenge me to invest wisely. Can’t complain about that!