Good Name #366Days Day 293

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in #366Days

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

I woke up at 3:30 this morning with this verse running through my mind. Last night, our family saw the verse played out before us as a couple of hundred people came by to share with us a little of what Daddy had meant to them. 

There were people from all aspects of his life — his work friends, a buddy since high school, family, church family, people who told us he made them feel like family. 

One of the many lessons we learned from Daddy was the importance of training others. In today’s vernacular it would be labeled something like mentorship. Mother reminded us about how Daddy said on his job it was so important to always be training or have someone trained who could take your place. His thinking is beautiful: if you are the only one who could do something (if we want to be irreplaceable) then why would you ever be promoted? They need you too much where you are. 

So, Daddy believed in and practiced the art of training others. He did this at work and he did this at church. He taught Sunday School for somewhere around 70 years and mentored so many men who went on to be Sunday School teachers themselves. He was bearing fruit. 

Last night, we got a small taste of that fruit, and it added to our joy in having had him in our lives. 

Oak #366Days Day 292

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in #366Days

Picking out Daddy’s casket was hard. We wanted something that would suit him and honor the man he was. My brother, who inherited Daddy’s love of woodworking, wanted to be sure we chose something made of or accented with wood. Our final choice was oak. 

Yesterday, Larry and I had to go to Rome to run a few errands and in the car Larry said something that went straight to my heart. He said, “Oak is perfect because he was an oak.”

I’ve always thought that interview question was silly, you know the one: “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” Who knows that kind of stuff!

Well, Larry is right. My daddy was an oak. 

I Googled “oaks” this morning and found they are recognized across the world as symbols of strength and endurance. Nations choose oaks to represent themselves because of the awe they inspire. Grand, sweeping, pointing to heaven. 

But oaks mean something to me personally as well. Just outside our front door when I was a kid was a giant oak tree. It provided shade and shelter for our playhouse that sat underneath it. I remember spending hours sitting at its base, playing with my family of acorn people, practicing what I now see as the craft of storytelling as I planned and plotted their lives in their home nestled among the roots of that oak tree. 

That oak was strong, tall and grand, but gentle and sheltering as well. Like my daddy. 

My early morning oak-reading reminded me of Psalm 1 which compares the man who delights in the Lord to being like a tree planted by streams of water. Deep roots, sheltering, flourishing with fruit. 

We used to worry some that if that oak tree in the yard ever fell it would crush the house. Our Southern mixture of droughts and winds and rains finally got the best of that tree a few years back. It came down, but didn’t crush the house like we thought. It fell perfectly between the house and barn. 

I miss that oak tree, but there are so many memories of my life that played out under its shelter — from childhood play, to sitting in the yard with my grandparents breaking beans and shelling peas, to high school graduation and prom photos, to holding my nephew when he was a baby, to a million other things that are racing through my mind. 

I’m so grateful for the memories. Last night we sat around the table and told stories of Daddy. We laughed a lot and cried a little and were abundantly thankful, so very thankful for the great Oak of a Daddy, Husband, and Papa that God gave us. 

Refuge #366Days Day 291

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in #366Days

“Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go.” Psalm 71:3

Yesterday morning, at just before 3 a.m., my sister called to tell me Daddy was gone. I stumbled into clothes, sobbed on Larry’s shoulder and rushed out the door telling Larry I would see him at my parents’ house in a few minutes. 

I felt panic as I stepped off our front doorsteps and onto the sidewalk, but as I rounded the turn toward the car, the night sky caught my attention. 

Orion, the hunter, was stretched out in the eastern sky, and the stars seemed to sparkle extra brightly. And my mind was instantly filled with the words from 1 Thessalonians that say we shouldn’t mourn as those who have no hope — because we know the end of the story. 

Death doesn’t win. This loss is not the final word. 

I miss my daddy, and I know that I have only begun to know what that feels like. I know it’s okay to mourn. But I know and believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I know that Daddy put his faith and trust in God who reveals himself to us as the Rock of Ages, the Mighty Fortress, the Prince of Peace, and the Comforter. 

I know that Daddy took great comfort in the words of Psalm 71, especially in the past several years. David, in his latter years, wrote these words, and they are such a comfort. Verse 14 says, “But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

That’s the kind of life my daddy lived, and I am so thankful for the example he set for me. I pray for strength to follow that example during these difficult days. 

Loss #366Days Day 290

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in #366Days

I’ve been dreading this day for a really, really long time. I didn’t know the date or the shape it would take, had no idea how fast it would come, was surprised by how fast it did come. But since I first learned the threat of loss, I have been afraid of losing my daddy. 

Today was that day. It has been a day of moments of tears and of love and of thankfulness for the gift of his life. 

A Pretty Good Prayer #366Days Day 289

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in #366Days

It was in the heat of the day, and Abraham was inside his tent when we saw visitors approaching. He hurried to meet them and was a good host, but I always wondered if he realized what we are told in Genesis 18:1, that it was God who had come for a visit. 

I wonder, because Abraham offered a pretty good prayer: “Master, if it please you, stop for a while with your servant.”

He, in a pre-echo of Christ’s promise, opened the door to the knocking and God sat with him and ate with him. 

On this side of the cross, we as Christians don’t have to wait for God to come for a visit. He has sent His spirit to dwell inside of us. 

Today, though, Abraham’s prayer seems like a good one. “Can we spend some time together?” “Can I crawl up in your lap and stay for a while?”

I’d be hard pressed to find fine flour and a  fatted calf to offer (without a trip to Publix), but I’m glad He cares about me. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

I’m grateful for His care and for the fact that He will indeed abide with us, if only we ask Him.