BearWaller & WhiteHorse
What I remember about Arty...
Tell us what you remember about Arty
Tell us what you remember about Arty
Words for Arty’s Memorial Service, by Andy Harber, best friend. October 21st, 2001
Arty and I met while he was dating my sister about 30 years ago. I was 12 or13 years old. Over the years we developed the closest friendship ever known.
Arty’s family was an oasis in my personal desert. I saw an honest example of how real love was supposed to work. Kids from all over the college and around the community wanted to hang out there. His lovely parents treated me like I was Arty’s brother. And our bond was closer than a brother’s. Arty was there for me through the toughest times in my life.
One of my favorite stories that Arty liked to tell reflected how he loved people no matter what kind of person they were. Arty would bring out a bucket full of cans and liken them to the diverse kinds of people in the world. He would say there are old classics (Coke), new generations (Pepsi), BUDs (Big Ugly Dudes), squirts, and of course, the ones he felt most empathy for, the ones that were crushed (Orange Crush). Even though I tried to put on the tough-guy exterior, I fell in that last category.
On each aluminum can there are words stamped in the top: Redemption Value. No matter what kind of can it is, there is a redemption value. The same goes for people. Arty loved everyone no matter what kind of person they were. He wanted to share the special relationship that he had with his maker, with every person he could. And, oh how he loved the boys and wanted each one to feel special.
One campout Arty and I were signing cards for the boys as a souvenir. There were many boys surrounding us and one had something hidden in his loosely fisted hand. Arty asked the boy what he had? The boy answered that he had a grasshopper. Arty asked if he could see it and then asked if he could keep it? The boy proudly handed over his prize, and Arty promptly popped the critter in his mouth and ate it. The young ranger’s eyes got as big as saucers exclaiming; “he ate my grasshopper!” The rest of the boys went off running to get a grasshopper for Arty to eat. They raced back screaming “eat mine, eat mine.” He must have eaten 50 grasshoppers that day. But, you see Arty wanted every boy to feel special.
Arty showed me there was value in my life by the way he accepted me. Loving us friends in the world was no easy task for Arty. Many of us friends from high school days will remember some of our shenanigans. Many times I tried to sway him from his faith by tempting him with my bad habits. Well, it turned out he was a stronger influence towards helping me than I was on hurting him. I gave my heart to Jesus at the end of high school largely due to the way Arty loved me.
Right after high school, we shared our first house together. It was a little shack on the end of a dirt road in Cedar Pines Park. When we saw the sign over the patio, we knew this was OUR place since it described our early adventures: “Malfunction Junction” is what the sign said. Last weekend I went back out there to see the beautiful view we had from our crooked little porch. I noticed the pine and oak trees and remembered a story that Arty liked.
There are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree, you can expend energy, working hard to climb, limb by limb to the top, or you can sit on an acorn. Arty was not the kind to sit on his acorn. He worked hard, he played hard, and he loved hard, those who were hard to love. But don’t praise him, oh no. He would want each of us to know that if we saw any good thing in him is it because of one thing, the love and saving grace of his Lord, Jesus Christ.
Arty wanted to be a clear reflection of the love Jesus gave to him. And that would be his message to us today: Don’t get stuck sittin’ on yer acorn. What that means to Christians is to, work hard in keeping the lookin’ glass clean to be the best reflection you can be of our Lord. And those who have not made a decision for Christ, take action today, because the time is short.
I will miss you bud, until I see you. Your friend, -Andy.