21 December 1994
Memoir by Michael S. Usey
Many years ago, Paul the Apostle wrote a letter to his good friend, Timothy. Paul saw his own death approaching, so he laid out his heart to his close friend. Paul wrote: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Not many people can say that and it be true. But another Paul, almost two thousands years later, could truthfully say it. Paul Andrews could say it, for Paul did finish the course and fight the good fight. Our Paul, though, might have said it differently. It is not secret to those who drove with Paul that he drove 55 (and only 55) on the freeways. Paul's ability to keep the car's speed dead bang on 55 was almost legendary. And he took a special glee in people who would shoot past him going 80-plus. His family remembers him chuckling to himself as another car blasted past him, because, an hour or two down the road, that same car would shoot past Paul again. And Paul couldn't help but remark with glee, "He's not getting there any fast than we are." So our Paul might have said, "I have driven the good road. I have kept it in between the lines. I have driven the steady and lawful limit, and have reached my destination: heaven."
The other Paul, Paul the apostle, added this in his farewell letter: in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Paul the apostle was talking about another Paul, our Paul, for Paul Andrews loved the Lord. He loved God; Paul loved his family and he loved his church, College Park. And there is for both Pauls crown of righteousness before the righteous Judge, our Lord.
I believe that in every person's life there is at least one moment when a man is the most alive and at his best. At that moment, a person is whole and happy and living up to his potential. That time in a person's life is when alot of good things come together in his being; it's when their family, health, school or job flow together harmoniously. It can be at any age: for some people, it is when they were 9 years old; for others when they were 16, or 22 or 45 or 60. Some people have easier lives than others, but in almost everyone's life, there is at least one moment when a man is living out his potential to the fullest and when he is the more alive and fulfilled than he will ever will be again. Maybe this is the age that each of us will be in heaven.
Paul Andrews had at least two such periods in his life. The first was when he was on the police force. The work apparently suited his personality, and Bea remembers that he felt fulfilled and happy when he came home. The 5-6 years that he spend on the force were fulfilling ones for Paul, and no doubt he did a lot of good in that demanding role.
But another time when Paul felt alive was when he and his family lived in Florida. He and his family lived in the Florida Keys in the 50s, long before they were discovered, in the days when they was little there but big bugs and Ernest Hemingway. He loved to fish, and did so often in the Keys. He mowed his lawn, and even remowed it after his son had done it once. And he loved the hot, hot weather.
Paul hated the cold weather, and was always cold. As most of you know, I too hate cold weather, and I'm sure, had I know Paul earlier in his life, we'd have had a deep connection on our mutual hatred of cold weather. In fact, Fran and Paul one day played a joke on their father's dislike of the cold. One day when it was 15 degrees--bitterly cold--Fran picked up her son, Chip, after he was all hot and sweaty from basketball practice. She dropped Chip off at Paul's door in this deep-freeze weather, and Chip rang the bell with only his basketball shorts and tank-top on. Paul answered the door, and was startled to see the boy dressed so sparsely in the frosty weather. He shook his head, and said, "Well, I've often thought it, but this confirms it: you don't have a lick a sense."
Paul loved to eat and even more than that, he loved to shop for groceries. Paul apparently had quite a pantry, and he was well-known at the local market. One Christmas Fran got him for a gag-gift a shopping cart, donated by the local market, and it was the only time that the family remembered him being speechless.
Like most of us, a lot of different ideas and phrases could be used to describe Paul. He was generous at times, as when he gave money to a poor man who use to come around regularly. He could be fun; Paul was wise, and he was long-suffering and did not complain. He was a perfectionist, and could be stern. He loved being home and thought that it was the best place on earth, a profound compliment to Bea and their relationship. He had a great will to live. But the word that appeals to me most is one that Paul Jr. told me yesterday; he said that his father was tolerant. Paul had a strong faith, and had his own opinion. He would let you know about his own commitment, and he was clear about that. But he didn't pressure people. He was tolerant of different opinions, even in his children, and that tolerant showed a great inner strength in Paul. He was, as many, many people have said to me, a good man.
And to be a good man is a very rare wonderful thing.