29 February 2008

A Love That Lasts

One day the door bell rang so I opened the door and a lady who is a neighbor of ours pushed a small girl into the foyer and asked if she could stay here for a few minutes. It wasn’t long until the door bell rang again and this time it was a young man standing at the front door and instructing his daughter to come out to him. I really did not know at the time what was going on but here I was right in the middle of things I soon detected as being a real family problem. The neighbor who brought the child to our house was only trying to help but the father was wanting his daughter so I had no alternative in the matter but to have the child leave our house.

I watched the activities across the street at the house where the girl and her mother were staying with the child’s grandparents. A few days later the grandfather came to visit me and explained that his daughter and her husband were in the process of getting a divorce and things had gotten out of hand. His daughter and the child’s mother obtained a legal document that prevented her husband from coming near her and the daughter. It was only a short time that I began to see a man visiting this lady who was divorcing her husband. Soon she moved out of her parent’s house and left with this man. However, the little girl (I would say about eight years old) has remained for the most part with her grandparents.

Undoubtedly her mother and this man now live in a different school district from where her daughter has been attending school so in order for the child to remain in her school she has to live temporarily with her grandparents. Just this morning I saw her leave with her grandfather on her way to school. Now I know that some of this is my own surmising but I think I am correct on most of this story. To my right and across a different street live a very nice couple and friends of mine. Their situation is this. He has a son and she has two sons by a previous marriage. They were married last summer and now she is expecting their child. You heard it before, “his, hers and theirs.” Sadly to say this has become common place in our society today.

I feel sorry for people in homes where there has been a divorce. Children suffer so deeply when their parents do not stay together. Without passing judgment I may say that there are no good divorces. Someone has sinned and souls may be in danger of being lost. Children are being separated from one parent and can only see him or her on occasions. Longevity in marriage is fast becoming obsolete. It ‘blows their minds’ when I tell young people that my wife and I have been married for fifty-two years. “Until death do us part” may already be an antiquated statement that is no longer being used in marriage ceremonies for many couples.

Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century ~Mark Twain

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person ~Mignon McLaughlin

Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’? and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:4-6) ~Jesus Christ

21 February 2008

An Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Good

On Sunday, February 17, I was watching the progress of a dangerous cell containing a tornado that was heading for Prattville when the power went off at 3:15 p.m. I immediately turned on my battery operated radio and learned that the tornado had touched down in our city. The power was restored in about fifteen minutes and the television station began broadcasting details about the location where the tornado had hit. It was in the neighborhood where we first lived when we moved to Prattville in 1983. The tornado was later classified as EF3 with winds about 150 mph. The devastation was great with some 800 homes damaged, with at least 30 homes completely destroyed. Some 50 businesses were damaged. Scores of people were injured but there were no fatalities. That within itself is amazing when you consider the damage done to the various homes and buildings.

On Tuesday I began working in one house that would be declared a total loss. This modest house was the home of a saintly Christian lady who had died in December of 2007. Her daughter was living in the house when the tornado hit. Fortunately, she was at the home of a Christian friend having lunch. I especially wanted to work in this house that once was the home of a dear Christian friend of ours, sister Lois Gipson. She was one of sweetest persons I have ever known. She was known and greatly loved for her kind and gentle ways and for her thinking of others with gifts she had made with her hands. As I worked with other Christians, I found many personal items that had been tossed about by the strong winds. As I would find an item she had made or pictures of the family I would give them to her daughter Martha. These were items that insurance could not replace. The roof had been torn off of about half of the house but we were able to save much of the furniture, clothing, personal items, etc.

It was an emotional thing to pick up something that was very personal and think that this was something that was greatly cherished by this Christian lady. While I, along with others, was helping her son and daughter to remove everything that was not ruined by the wind and rain, I thought within myself that there were so many families all around the area who were going through their possessions and trying to save what they could. I saw a family looking through the debris in the house back of us doing this very thing. I expressed my concern to them and simply said that “I am so sorry and that I was praying for them.” They in turn expressed their gratitude that others cared and were praying for them. The destruction I saw was just overwhelming.

It is indeed heartwarming when you see so many people working feverishly to do what they can to aid the victims of the tornado’s destructive power. It is in times like these that the best in people is manifested. I want to applaud members of the church locally and from other areas who were/are doing what they can to alleviate the suffering of so many. Doors of opportunity will be opened for brethren to encourage individuals to know more of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Prejudice will be lessened as brethren manifest their love by their kind and thoughtful deeds. How wonderful to live in a community of caring people.

One of the last things I saw before leaving this house that was demolished was a small mirror on a bathroom door with this inscription underneath it: “THIS PERSON IS NOT TO BE TAKEN TOO SERIOUSLY”. This brought a smile to my face because I knew of the humor of the lady who had lived in this house. In spite of the difficulties in life we should always remember to “Smile because God loves you”.