Posts Tagged ‘Jack Shuler’

“You must be Lisa Shuler. (Big hug, looking into my eyes) I am so glad we are family, friends forever.  When is your birthday?  My name is Tom.  We are friends forever.”  This was our first introduction to a relative we had never met before that first moment of pure love on Sunday morning the moment we walked into the door at church.  Tom was dressed sharp in designer jeans, a fine pressed button up shirt and a classy blazer with a cherished Nikon camera hanging around his neck (which we found later to be with him at all times, ever ready to capture memorable moments and his favorite subject…elevator doors).

Me, Taylor, Tom, Bill, Sydney, Aubrie

Bill’s cousin Bob wrote a beautiful book called “Fighting Bob Shuler of Los Angeles” full of rich Shuler history.  Bob and his wife Jane and son Tom invited us to join them on a wonderful adventure to Grayson County Virginia, Comers Rock, to explore the Shuler roots.  We stopped at our house to pick up the girls where Tom was so excited to meet them he ran with his arms open and hugged Taylor first and with a depth of love you’ve never heard before said, “Oh hello!  You are sooo nice!”  He spotted Aubrie, broke embrace and ran as fast as a 6 foot something man can go in a span of 5 feet of floor space and embraced her to say, “Hi you are sooo nice.  We are family.  We are going to be friends.”  He had already won Sydney and Bill and me over earlier.

We had the most incredible time the following 24 hours.  We drove several hours through a misty Sunday evening through the beautiful Fall Blue Ridge Mountains.  We stopped to rest at a fast food restaurant where I overheard Bob ask Tom how he was doing.  Tom answered with such kindness and sincerity, “I’m doing just fine.  How are you doing?”  Bob said, “I’m doing well too.”  Tom responded with, “That’s nice.  I love you Bob.”  A tough looking man in front of me in line obviously heard this exchange and had to see what he was hearing and turned around to sneak a peak to find Tom with his arm around Bob and love in his eyes and countenance.

As a family we could not wait to get alone to share every single word that Tom had said and the way that he would say it.  It was love like you had honestly never heard before.  Every time we would repeat his words our faces would melt and our hands would always end up on our hearts as if that were the only way to communicate the fullness of your heart by this dear sweet expression of God’s love found in a grown man 32 years of age.  He looks handsome and is smarter than most anyone you would find in a university and yet he has this simple childlikeness that sets him apart as very special and unique.  His mother said they thought that at the age of 5 he may never speak a word.  Well, he speaks, that’s for sure and he is very articulate.  He is a “Presidential Global Messenger” for Special Olympics and very proud of his role as he should be!  He has no understanding of hate or jealousy or anger as his mother explained that it’s just not in him.

We spent the day driving through Comers Rock and discovered mail boxes with the name “Shuler” on them and a “Shuler Cemetery” and another cemetery with many family members head stones.  It was as if the land actually taught us lessons about the Shuler ancestors confirming the stories in the book Bob has so perfectly described in his book.  It was clear that the Shulers had and still have great influence in that community but what struck us more is the world wide impact the Shulers have had coming out of the farm land in Comers Rock, VA deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is a dream land full of Christmas tree farms on rolling hills and  farms dotted with orange pumpkins among the colorful maple trees lining the Blue Ridge Mountains.  From those hills rose one of first of the “Great Radio Preachers, Fighting Bob Shuler” who pastored one of the largest churches in Los Angeles and his son (Bill’s Dad) Jack Shuler who was an evangelist who was said to be “at least as popular as Billy Graham” by Billy Graham’s biographer.  Fighting Bob’s father and Grandfather ministered as well and passed on a heritage that I believe we are still reaping today in the Shuler family!  Bill’s cousin Bob and Bob’s father Robert Shuler were both ministers and Bill is in his 27th year of ministry.

Bill and cousin Bob Shuler

Back to Tom and the way that God expressed himself through his pure heart of love…He valued people and history and dates and reasons to celebrate and have fun.  He was so full of love and expressed it every time he would see you smile, it was as if a smile was an invitation for him to come and share his love for you.  He would say, “We are friends forever!”  and you got the feeling that he really meant it and he would draw out the word f-o-r-e-v-e-r.   He would hug you and say, “Feel the love.”  I hope one day everyone gets the privilege of knowing a “friend forever” like Tom!

Tom captured every valuable headstone with his Nikon!

*This is twice as long as a normal blog but I think it’s worth it! 🙂  I hope it blesses you in the same way our lives were touched by this dear sweet gift from the Lord!!! An expression of his pure love!


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