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We had the opportunity to visit with our daughter at our house this past weekend, who will soon be having a daughter of her very own. While she was here we happened to come across an old box with some of her papers from when she was younger that had something I had written about her when she was only about 3 or 4 years old. Here is the original paper I had hand written those so many years ago.
“She came into our lives as a blessing from above. So tiny, so beautiful. GOD blessed us with our little bundle of love. At first she barely crawled, and now look at her run. At first she could hardly talk. Now look at her; she hardly stops talking! Each day we grow to love her more. Thank you LORD for our little blessing. Thank you LORD for Valerie. Brown eyes, brown hair, and that special warm caring smile.
Each time I look at her, I hear GOD whispering in my ear. Be good to her, and raise her to learn of me. Teach her love, patience, kindness, goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and train her in the way she should go. Teach her right from wrong. Teach her to love others, to give unto others. Look at her now how big she is growing, changing every day. Thank you LORD for our gift from heaven above. May we love her and show her your ways each day. Thank you LORD for our Valerie.”
The picture above is of our daughter Valerie and her own grandfather, my wife’s dad. His name was “Papa” I can’t wait to have a photo taken with my own granddaughter. I know people say it often, but it does seem like only yesterday when our daughter was this age. As a matter of fact, it still seems like only yesterday that I was carrying her to her first bed to lay in after being born in the hospital. As the days pass, I pray that I will be able to be the grandfather that my granddaughter deserves me to be. I pray that I will be able to show her the right road to take too, and that we will have many good years together. If we are together, they can’t help but be good!
I promise again LORD that I will teach her just like I taught her own mother. I will teach her the road to take, right from wrong, to love others, and to give unto others….. and I promise you I will love her every single day!
He tried to raise cattle. That didn’t pan out that well. He tried his hand at remodeling houses and pretty much lost everything he had back when he was twenty-one years old. Oh well, that’s the past. And now, oh well, now is all he has left. That’s all any of us really have is the now. We can’t live in the past and we certainly can’t live in the future. Although many of us do try our hand at that even if we can never seem to make it all come together.
He sits there all alone in his creakity old chair. It’s no different from any other time at two in the morning now. The only light in the living room is the orange glow at the tip of his cigarette. Usually says he can’t sleep for one reason or another. Is it a lie? Well, you figure it out. He takes a drag – inhales slow, pushes his mouth towards the ceiling and lets the smoke come out in one slow – long – swirl. Flicks his ashes in the bottom of the rolled up cuff of his jeans and sighs. Coughs and tries to clear his throat. Inhales as the glow of his cigarette lights up the dark room once again. That’s been his usual routine for these past five years.
Just a common man without much education. He’s worked hard all his life – not a paper pusher as he says. But a man who worked with his hands and made a living sweating. Not that he has anything against paper pushers. It’s just he never could understand how someone could get paid to push papers and push buttons on a computer all day long. Never made much sense to him.
Tonight I’m spending the night with Dad. Mom passed away just this past October. Dad seems more restless than usual tonight for some reason. As he shifts and turns in his chair I hear every creak and moan of the worn out recliner from a nearby bedroom. I wish just once he would stay in bed for an entire night!
Well now Dad is making it so that I can’t sleep either tonight. I just had to drive 500 miles from Houston to get here and now this! I wipe the crusted sleep from my eyes, roll over and grab my t-shirt and jeans that are laying on the dresser nearby. I slither them on as best as I can without any light and in the process bang a glass of water sitting on the same dresser. Ice cold water drenches my bare feet. “Man – that water is cold”.
I latch on to my cell phone and push a button so that I have some sort of light to make my way to the living room. I look through the arched door opening to the living room and see that glow of his cigarette staring me in the face. “Hey Dad”. “Hi Son.”, he says. “Why don’t you get up and go to bed Dad?” “I would if I could Son.” “I just keep thinking, maybe I should have got a better education in my life so as to take better care of you kids and your mom somehow.”, he says.
“Oh now come on Dad, you worked 35 years down at the steel company every single day. It was hot and hard work! You gave the best you could to your family.” “And besides that Dad. Do you know you gave me more by not giving me everything I wanted in life? You gave us all a roof over our heads and food on the table. We never once went without food or a place to live. And you taught us about the LORD – not by just what you said, but by what you did.” ” If I had it to do all over though son, I would have gone to college.”, he says.
“Why’s that Dad?” “Oh, to make something of myself.” he says. ” Can I just tell you something Dad?” “When I was a little boy, I looked up to you. And even though I’m all grown up now I’m still looking up to you. I am the man I am today because of you, and even though you might not know it, you’ve made something of yourself. I love you Dad.”
“Thanks son, today you’ve given me more education than I could have ever had at any college”
In honor of all hard-working dads and moms!
This old church used to be a Baptist church and is the one I first started going to when I was a kid in Oklahoma City. Every now and then my brother Tim, and I would invite a few neighbor kids to go with us. One Sunday morning we invited a friend named Lawrence who had never been to church before. At the time I was in seventh grade and Lawrence was in the third grade.
That Sunday we sat in our normal seats which was about fifteen aisles from the front. Lawrence sat between Dad and I, and Tim sat next to me on the outside seat. Lawrence spent most of his time fidgeting and drawing snowmen on scrap pieces of paper with a pencil he found in a round holder in front of him. He stopped drawing and moving around in his seat at the very end of the service when the pastor gave the altar call. If you are not familiar with a Baptist church, most Baptist preachers in a Baptist church give an altar call and ask if anyone wants to come down to the front to be saved. It is not just once in a while. The altar call is every service.
The preacher started the altar call and asked if anyone wanted the LORD to save them and to come on down to the front if they felt led by the LORD. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Lawrence got up out of his seat and walked to the front where the preacher was standing all alone. When he got up to the front our preacher bent over to have Lawrence whisper in his ear. The pastor was about six feet six inches tall so he had to lean over a good distance to get down to Lawrence’s mouth to hear what he had to say.
After hearing what he had to say, the preacher just leaned back up, smiled, and then pointed his long skinny index finger to the right hand set of wooden double doors which Lawrence quickly walked to and through to the other side. The preacher continued on talking to wrap up the altar call and soon Lawrence emerged from the double door area and returned to his seat next to mine. I wasn’t quite sure what he did up there so I leaned over and whispered in his ear , “What happened up there?” Lawrence just looked back at me with a puzzled face and said, “I asked him where the bathroom was.”
At the end of the altar call the preacher said, “Folks we didn’t have anyone who found the LORD today, but we did have one who found out where the restroom was.” Have a great week!