Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A TRIBUTE TO A GOOD NEIGHBOR



BONNIE’S TRIBUTE



Dear Friends:

          Once more you have met and exceeded all that anyone could expect from a "Neighbor".  Your note was timely and just the kind of pick-me-up, I for one, needed.  Even the paper you wrote on was the perfect accessory for perfect words, so colorful and cheery.
          I actually believe I blushed a little as I read the adjectives you used in expressing how you thought of me.  Later, I felt a little humiliated for my momentary lapse into a feeling of being puffed-up.  I know full well that any compliments sent my way are not because of my own efforts, but rather, that the praise belongs to my Lord, the one who has made me whatever kind of person you believe me to be.  Let me assure you, the old me was nothing like the person you described.
          This past week was one which I will be a long time getting over.  Thursday, at 4 P.M., the Pastor of the Church had set aside one hour for the Family to have some private time with Dad and one another.  When my Step-Mother, Frances came in, the weeping and wailing started for us all.  I got my serious crying in at that time, knowing that later would be a time when much strength would be required of us all.  The problem was, the crying and hanging on to the closest person you could reach just kept building for the ones I had expected the most control from. 
          There is some real singing talent in our family and I was so disappointed when none of them could pull themselves together long enough to sing a favorite song for Dad.  Fortunately, Some of Frances' Brothers and Sisters came up from Florida and Alabama, and they provided all of the singing.
          Later that evening, after most of those who had come to pay their respects had gone, it was requested that I read the Tribute I had written for Dad, to the remaining close friends and family. At first, I had the urge to decline the request, afraid I would breakdown in the middle of it and embarrass myself.  Then, I heard this scripture, repeating over, and over in my mind; "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  Reading the Tribute was no problem at all.  Some of my brothers and sisters said they don't know how I was able to do it;  But I knew!
          Our Father's influence upon what remains of our life will not cease just because he is no longer with us in the flesh.  So long as our memories function, we will be able to draw upon the values he taught us, not in verbal communication, but by the way he lived his life. 
          Life, with it many facets, is certainly a mystery, a mystery I ponder upon at every opportunity.  The substance of a human's existence is not measured by monuments erected in ones' honor, or by how many paragraphs are written about their accomplishments in our History Books.  Life’s monuments, the ones which matter, are invisible to the human eye.  They exist only in the minds and hearts of others whose life was touched by that person, and in some way, was changed for the good.
          Bonnie, I know that your life has not been easy, what would it have been worth if it had been?  You are no stranger to the pain of physical afflictions or the pain which hurts most of all, the pain of watching someone you love suffer, long and hard.  I know, that if it were possible, you would have taken that pain upon yourself and suffered for them, somehow, it would have been easier to bear.
I also believe that the greatest victory in life is overcoming all of that and still being able to see someone else in distress and having compassion for them. To be able to put all the pain which life has brought your way, aside, and to reach out to that person with an offer of help. 
          That is the monument to your life, yours and Lyndal's.  I will never forget that you and he took time out of your own life to visit me when I was recuperating, that you were there when we needed help of one kind or another, that you were willing to attempt to comfort us when we needed comforting.
          If my life has meant anything, if I have accomplished the smallest of achievements when it comes my time to go, I would wish that it could be said of me, as I am sure it will be said of you two;  They loved their neighbors as themselves.

May God Bless you and yours,

Clarence

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