Going For A Walk

Going Walking – A neighbor from long ago –

I use to enjoy visiting with a blind couple that lived about two blocks from my home in an off yellow house on College St.

Most of those who lived around them felt that they were unfriendly complained a lot and in general just did not like them. I don’t remembering knowing that until I had built a relationship with them. It came from one of those knocking on the door events to try and sell something to raise money for our school. They yelled at me to come in and not knowing they were sightless I was surprised and scared that they were sitting in a dark room, no light, not even from the outside. Somehow through that contact I begin to go by now and then to see if they needed anything from the grocer, even offered to mow their yard, they always declined but one day I asked Mr. Luther if he would like to go for a walk, with that questioned answered with a yes a friendship began.

We developed a ritual that we followed each time that I would knock on the door.  They would call for me to come in and I would say, “You know you are sitting here without any lights on don’t you?” They would laugh and tell me to turn the lights on if I must.

I would take Mr. Luther walking and he would place his hand on my shoulder as we walked along and all the sounds that were made he wanted me to describe to him.

I really did try, but you know it is hard for a small boy to describe a leaf that was falling to a man who had never seen one.  I would let him touch it, smell it and sometimes even taste it. He would laugh and we would go on to the next sound of a kicked rock, breaking piece of glass and too many others to remember. I even put up a Christmas tree for them one year, lights and all, they never said much about it, but it made me feel better just knowing that they had a tree.

One day as I was leaving; they both said to me, “Sonny, we can’t see you and you seem very small, but you sure do bring a lot of light into our home.”  That was nice. I felt good.

Ivan

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Published in: on February 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm  Comments (1)  

Let Your Joy Show

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  First Thessalonians 5:16-18

See how much our joy and happiness means to God? Yet to hear so many Christians speak you would think that somehow God gets a lot of joy out of making life miserable for us.  How ungrateful and unscriptural such thoughts are, nothing could be further from the truth.

Our nation will go to bed tonight worried about what is going to happen tomorrow. I know something that is very true about tomorrow: God will still be on His throne, Jesus will still be Lord, and the Holy Spirit will still direct those who are willing to follow. He will not force you, but He will direct you into the path that is made just for you. If you can’t sleep just read through the book of John tonight and see how very much God loves you and desires you to walk with Him.

God desires that our lives be so filled with joy that we can rejoice always. Stop being so miserable about all that is going on, stop seeking your joy from a political party, election, and the economy and discover it in the treasure of God’s Son.

Nothing except what you have done to honor Christ will make one bit of difference when you get to glory. I hate to say this but I find a lot of people unhappy with life because they have forgotten who is in control and who is going to win.  Read the bible, God wins.

You are on the winning team, live like it. Rejoice; let others see Jesus in your life.  Stop the bitter strife and the ugly comments and get about the Master’s business.

Ivan

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Case of The Ring Worm

I was telling mother, I was five or six, that Johnnie and I were going down to the crawdad hole the next day and see how many of the backward running creatures we could catch. Then we were going to give them to Mr. Evans so he could catch some great fish.

She interrupted my plans by telling me that I could not play with Johnnie for the next several days that he had a ring worm and I could not go to his house.

Now this made no sense to me, ring worm, I wanted to see it, was it made from fishing worms or grub worms, how did they get them to stay together and to wrap around his finger in order to make a ring.  Now I did not ask these questions I just ran through them in my mind, much like I still do, asking and answering my own questions. When I crawled into bed I had visions of a large ring made from grub worms, maybe they had been petrified or frozen, I didn’t know but this I had to see. I dreamed of beautiful rings made of all sorts of worms and woke up early wanted to see this magic ring and maybe get one for myself.

As usual it wasn’t long until mother: who was the general manager of our home, taking care of housekeeping, food service, laundry, shopping and a thousand other chores, was busy with her duties. I still remember that she had a Maytag clothes washer with a wringer, most of you do not know what I am talking about; I remember once when she got her hand caught in the wringer and it looked bad for about a week, fingers, not the wringer. Mother was not handy, there is where my crocked nail hammering comes from, but I drift a bit. So once she was busy I slipped over to Johnnie’s house to see the wonderful ‘Ring Worm’.  I must say my dreams did not come true, except the one about wanting one for myself before I saw his, I got that dream, and I really got it.  O to be a boy again.

Ivan

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Driving Angels

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.  Hebrews 13:2

I saw them standing by their car looking like the final hope of life had left.  This little family of Mother, Father, and small daughter, I spoke to them and asked if they were having trouble. The father said the car was  broke and he had arranged for someone to pick it up the next day and have it repaired but he and the family had to be in Memphis by eight the next morning for school and work. He went on to tell me that they could catch a bus in Nashville going to Memphis if they could get to the station by 10:00 PM,  I said well let me move some thing over in my car and we can get to the station on time. Their joy was great and they hurriedly got their needed items and with a bit of throwing items in the back of the explorer we were on our way and soon in downtown Nashville at the bus station.  As they left the car for the door of the station I reached in the back and pulled out a teddy bear, I keep a couple on hand most of the time, and asked the little girl if she would take him to Memphis and give him a home because he disliked living in the back of my explorer.  She smiled, grabbed the bear and hugged my leg.  They all thanked me and as they left for the door I hear the girl ask her mother, “You think he was an angel?”  I did not hear the reply but you know and I know that I am not an angel.  More likely they were angels and I entertained them.  You know that might have just been it.

Ivan

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 11:25 pm  Comments (1)  

I Need A Different Drummer

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

It is difficult to turn on the television and not be hit head on by scenes which we know are designed to stir our emotions.  Now I do not consider myself a prude nor do I try to hold anyone above the normal emotions of life.  However it does concern me that my grandchildren are going to grow up in a world with little if any boundaries. The moral character that God speaks about does not seem to have a place in our public society. It seems that we have done everything to erase any remembrance of morality. Sex is a toy or desire, nothing more. Truth is useful when we need it but by no means is it a standard for us to be held to. Honesty, character, modesty, and language have no code of conduct in the public places of our lives.  Therefore you and I if we are to believe and live by this verse must bathe ourselves in His truth and submerge ourselves in His will. We must not be overcome by a world that tells us that we are old fashion, out of step, and living in a dream world. God still has choices for His people to make, He will not remove all of the temptations but He will give us the power to face and defeat them. His Word is not going to change to meet the standards of today; our standards must always be measured by His Word. We are going to be considered more and more out of step as time moves forward, we are headed for a time of ‘afflictions’ as Paul warned Timothy.

This is not easy and will not become easier but it will make us a better example for our children and others. Remember, Be Good!

Ivan

Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Personal Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, It’s me again, Ivan. But then You already knew that, in fact You knew I was going to type this prayer before I did. Certainly You knew it was me for You have promised that our Sheppard knows His sheep, even our names. But knowing that you already know I still feel compelled to bow before You and to embrace You as a boy might embrace his father. I love You and You know that part of me longs to see You; but You also know that part of me is afraid, not ready, not now.

I know that I have lived a long time, in fact past the promised years, but Father in this season of my life I thank You for these years, my life, and all of the blessings You have given to me I would really like for You to wait awhile. There are still dreams that I have not yet experienced, people I need to see again, family that I want to see grow older and hope still unmet that I would love to meet. I need to let Carole know that I love her more, I want my children to understand how precious they are and how blessed I am to be in their lives. Their children, how blessed they are to have their parents, I would like to be closer, see them more, say I love you more.

God I praise You for this life, for Your goodness, for the favor You have shown upon my life. I am blessed Father, this church, these people, my family, I am blessed; thank You. I am blessed to write each day and from time to time have someone say; ‘good one.’ God I have more than a man should expect and I praise and thank You for each day.

You have placed me in this wonderful place among these wonderful people, thank You.  Here in this small town I feel safe, known, and yes, even loved. If it is Your will, would You wait a bit? Let these feet still work, these legs still walk, these eyes still see, and this voice still talk. Thank You God, Thank You. But You know Father, that I am in Your hands and I really do like being in them.

Ivan

Published in: on February 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm  Comments (3)  

A Dusty Morning is Coming

I have had four funerals this month, I believe in some way they take a toll of me as well as others. It helps me to come out of that darkness to read again this brief story.

A Dusty Morning is Coming

The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.  Genesis 2:7

I visited my parents’ graves recently when I was in Jackson. It occurred to me that one of these getting up mornings there is going to be a great dust storm in that place and God is going to call out of the dust my wonderful parents. Mom and dad were not perfect people but they knew, worshiped, and trusted in a perfect savior. Mother had asked me just a few hours before she died, not even knowing that she was sick, if when we died we had to stay in the grave until Jesus came for us or if we went on to be with him in the moment of death. I remember that I was driving the car and she was in the front seat next to me, we were at the corner of College and South Royal Streets, when she asked me that question some 34 years ago. I told her that it was my belief, because of what Jesus had said to the believing thief who was dying with him on the cross, that our spirit would go immediately to be with the Lord and then someday He would come to receive our bodies. Mom discovered the truth for herself that very day in less than four hours.

In the same area where my parents are buried, my sister Alice is buried a space for husband Ed is also there, my brother-in-law Ralph is there beside my sister Peggy. Now that is going to be some dusty ground when the trump of God sounds and Jesus breaks the Eastern Sky. But not to worry just as their spirits are now with Him, He will return for their new resurrected bodied. Out of that dust He will call them and they will go to be with their Spirits to live in His glory forever.  Just wait for the dust.

Ivan

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Case of The Rocked Cat

The Case of the Rocked Cat.- Just for Fun

My friend and I were standing on the square in Waynesboro, Tennessee, talking about the events of the previous night’s football game. Suddenly we heard the squalling tires of a car stopping too quickly and saw the young lady jumping from the car, leaving it running and abandoned in the middle of the street, screaming at the top of her voice, “My cats been rocked, my cats been rocked.” Since I don’t wish to share her name and since she was in great distress I will just call her Stressed. Stressed threw her arms around me and sobbing said “preacher my cats been rocked, my cats been rocked.” Not really understanding I tried to comfort her for a moment and asked her to slow down and tell me exactly what had happened. With great tears, a shaking body, and trembling voice she told me in great detail that she had been playing with the cat that I had given her while sitting in her mother’s favorite rocking chair and had accidentally rocked on the cat. Realizing that it was time for the Cat EMT’s I asked and discovered that the cat was in her car, still alive but with limited likelihood of making it through any more of her nine lives. I asked my friend to take her car home, by now traffic had come to a dead stop around the square and the world of Waynesboro had been placed on hold until the ‘preacher’ cleared the one road through town. I put Stressed and the cat, she had it wrapped in a towel, in my car and it was off to the next town and the cat doctor. The trip was filled with regrets, tears, sobs, and general ‘mourning at the bar’. With safe hast I made it to the doctor and to cut the story short, prissy, the cat, lived. Not without great cost, but she did live.

I am not sure what the cat doctor did for Prissy, but she was never just right after that event with the rocker.  She ran through any room that had a rocking chair, she walked a bit side ways, like a car out of line, and she hiked her hind leg when she did her business. But Stressed took good care of her and for years you could see the two of them around town, looking for a fire hydrant or just walking a bit side ways down the street.

Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm  Comments (1)  

What Will We Say?

I had been kneeling at one of the more than 100 crosses, out of the more than 10,000 crosses, bearing the name, Unknown, in the American Cemetery at Normandy and as I rose I saw him in the distance kneeling at the cross of a fallen solider. I did not know him, I could not really see him well, I did not hear the words he spoke, and I did not see the tears that I am sure flowed across his face. I could tell that he was wearing the uniform of the United States Air Force, maybe stationed in Europe I thought, was this his father’s cross, maybe it was a brother, maybe like myself he simply stopped to pray at a grave of his choice. I will never know but that is holy ground and one is apt to simply fall on your knees and weep for those 10,000 plus who never came home.

I was reminded of Private Ryan, from the movie, Saving Private Ryan, as an old man he knelt at the cross of Captain Miller, the CO who led the men ordered by General Marshall himself to find and return Private Ryan to safety for his three brother had been killed in the two days before and Ryan must not be the fourth. Captain Miller had said to Ryan in his final breath of life, “James, Earn This, Earn it.” Now as an old man he weeps before the grave of the man who saved him and told him how each day he had done his best, been his best. Then with tears flowing he stood and looked at his wife with the simple question, “Have I been a good man? Am I a good man?”

Someday we each will kneel, not before the cross of Calvary, but before the feet of our maker. What shall we say?

 

(Side Bar) Robert Rodat who wrote and Spielberg who direct Private Ryan did an outstanding job of bringing all of us to our knees and all of us to flowing tears. While this story is fiction, the Borgstrom family of Utah gave four sons in the Second World War, and the Sullivan family of Iowa spent the lives of five sons in keeping our dream of Freedom.

Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 12:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Hard Times For Friends

Last week was a hard time for a number of our men as we said goodbye to one of our church members, leaders, and deacon; Bill Rich, left his home on highway 111 for a new home prepared for him in glory. Many of us who are called old timers by our friends felt the jolt as he left our fellowship on Valentine’s day. For some of us it was hard to visit with Bill, we would leave wondering if we were looking at ourselves or our friend Bill. He was not in any pain, his mind was good, but his body was weak and his soul was ready for the journey of his closure here and the entrance to his new home.

Jack and I would visit with him, then leave both of us in tears for we loved our friend and knew that we would miss him. Although we knew that the future was going to be better for him it was hard on us. I have had four funerals this month, my heart is torn, and my body is weary; enough with death it is time for us to see the coming of Spring, even knowing that we live in the winter of our lives we long for the Spring of 2013, warmer days, greener grass, and please no more goodbyes for a long time.

There is the heavy hand of the coming future, but for now we have places to go grandchildren and friends to enjoy, there must be a Summer coming, new days, more dreams, hold back the hand of time and let us walk a bit longer in the grass we love, with those we love and let the sorrow of this month be gone and the joy of tomorrow breaking new and fresh upon our old bodies, a few more seasons Lord, a few more dreams. Death is so hard on old friends.

Ivan

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment