One Sunday morning, back when our family was still young and growing, we decided to visit a tiny, white building which housed a church. Originally, the building was built for a few families to gather to homeschool their children. We unloaded our then five children out of the suburban and marched them into the building, little knowing that our lives would be forever changed and richly blessed by love of an elderly man, named Buddy.
There was just a handful of people attending there at that time. Our seven people filled up a row. Everyone greeted us with handshakes and smiles. After hearing a wonderful message by Buddy, we prepared to leave. Everyone shook our hands and smiled once more, suggesting, hoping, that we would come back again. As I was walking out, Buddy caught me in the doorway. “Can you teach? We need a teacher for the younger children.” And the rest is history.
Buddy quickly became a “member” of our family. He and his lovely wife lived about 35 minutes away, but he spent a tremendous amount of time at our home over the next couple of years. He studied with us. He took time with our now six children and he took time with me and my husband. We all fell in love with Buddy.
On his way to our home in the fall, he would stop at a farmer’s market and pick up a gallon of cider and maybe some persimmons to give us. We would sit around and talk about his life as he had so many stories to tell. A few I still remember but my busy life erased many from my mind. And that saddens me. One story I do remember was when he was in training in the military. He had to crawl under barbed wire while being shot at with live bullets. He lifted his head up slightly and a bullet hit his helmet. He laughed when he shared that story with us but I am sure it wasn’t so funny then.
Eventually, he had to retire from preaching and he and his wife decided to move back to Tennessee to be closer to their son and his family. Buddy was sick. We visited them while he was still able to get around. He took us on a country music star scenic bus tour in Nashville. That was fun. I still remember seeing Alan Jackson’s beautiful home from the road.
We continued to keep in touch daily by phone. He still answered our many questions and gave advice when we needed it. Or, sometimes, we just chatted. Finally, he just wasn’t able to do that any longer. We got a call one day that he wasn’t doing well. We loaded into the van and drove five hours to his home, praying all the way that he’d wait for us. He did. We sat by his bedside. I read the Bible aloud as that was “home” to him and a great comfort. The Bible was his life. We held his hands and even though we could no longer understand him verbally, his eyes reflected love. No fear. Only love.
We finally had to say our last goodbyes. That broke our hearts. I could see the sadness in him as well and that was hard to take. He passed away a day or so later on September 21, 2004.
Awhile before he passed, he and I had a conversation about Bibles. I asked if I might have the Bible he opened up to us so many times. He said that I could. Once he passed, I did receive a Bible but not that particular one. That Bible went to his grandson because it had been accidentally left in the truck that was given to him from his grandad. I selfishly was a little sad about that.
I remember having a meltdown one day because of the loss of such a great friend. And his passing was truly a huge loss in my life. I was alone in my room and I held that old Bible, and even though it wasn’t “the” Bible we studied, I was soon to discover it held a gift that made it all the more special. As I cried (I may or may not have been feeling sorry for myself), I held that Bible close and I felt something on the back cover. Curiously, I looked it over and when I realized what it was, I cried even harder. For on the back cover AND on the front, were the indentations of his thumb and fingers. Buddy would hold that Bible at his side while he stood. His thumb on the back cover and his fingers on the front. I quickly found pictures taken of him with my kids and there he was holding the Bible in just that manner. To me, it represented how tightly he hung onto the Word of God. He never let go of it his whole life. I found such peace in realizing this wonderful gift he left me and I was reminded of what was truly important. It wasn’t all about me and my loss…or not receiving the particular Bible I had asked for. And I was greatly humbled…again.
Every once in awhile, I will press my fingers and thumb into those indentations and I am reminded to get back on track. Buddy’s love will was great, but God’s is far greater. Sometimes we need earthly reminders because we are human and tend to forget.
I thank God that He gave us Buddy during the end of his life. It would have been great to have known him for longer than a few short years, but everything is in God’s timing. He knew our family needed Buddy then. He also knew that we depended on Buddy so much, maybe too much, that we needed to finally stand on our own. I don’t believe that is why Buddy had to leave, but there is a lesson in everything. And I am grateful for that.
I felt this was an appropriate story to share on this Sunday morning. I actually had another blog prepared when I thought of this about an hour or so ago. I think I was supposed to write this today for some reason. I hope you gathered something good and uplifting from it.
Thank you for being here when you could easily have chosen to be somewhere else. ♥️
This morning’s coffee is Door County Frosted Cinnamon Roll. It is pretty good, don’t you agree?