Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Loss

Each year in my classes, we speak about the cross through the eyes of Johnny Cash and his movie, Gospel Road. One illustration I often use with the kids is about the most valuable possession I once owned and how I lost it. It is pictured above and the story is told below, from July 10, 2009. (PS: I do have a will now and  have replaced the lost item you will read about in the following paragraphs!)

Now that the memorial service and funeral for Michael Jackson are completed, the dividing of his estate begins. At the time of his death, he was apparently deeply in debt but the sales of his music have skyrocketed in the past two weeks. Jackson made one of the shrewdest business decisions of all-time in the 1980's when he, at the suggestion of Paul McCartney, bought the copyrights to the Beatles' songs, outbidding McCartney in the process. No one doubts his children will be well taken care of when the issues are settled but it will take more than one lawyer to sort it out.

My will is less complicated; I don't have one. There is a $100,000 life insurance policy but my folks are the beneficiaries which makes no sense as they are deceased. (You can read more on that in my 3-7-07 post if you like!) That doesn't mean I've never made provision for the transfer of my precious assets. Thirteen years ago, I baptized one of my students in Tennessee, Leigh Leftwich. To commemorate the occasion, Leigh gave me a silver cross inscribed with JESUS CHRIST IS LORD on one side in English and the same on the opposite side in Braille. I was so touched, I took it to a jeweler and put the cross on a silver chain, promising Leigh I would never take it off as long as I live. It became my most valued possession, so much that I had to decide who should inherit it when I pass away. I chose Kathryn Thomas, a young lady on my high school basketball team who my book was dedicated to. I put my wishes on paper and sent copies to my folks and Kathryn. No notary and no lawyers were utilized although I think I used a sheet of legal paper. If you look at the picture above taken two summers ago in Honduras, you can see the cross around my neck. (You can also see that wearing a baseball hat for hours leads to bad hair days!)

You know, it's a funny thing about jewelry- after time, you forget you have it on. It becomes part of your body in a sense. One day in May, I looked in the mirror....and no cross. I spun the chain as sometimes the cross got caught in the back but it had vanished. I couldn't remember the last time I'd noticed it but it might have been several days. I searched my apartment- nothing. My gut feeling was it came off when I was running in the pool and was long gone down the drain. It would be honest to say I mourned. As I mentioned, I considered it the most cherished thing I owned. The hardest part for me was calling Kathryn, which I did last week. She was more than sympathetic and understanding and knows as well as anyone my penchant for losing everything. It was great touching base with Kathryn, now more properly Mrs. Phillips. We have not seen each other since I helped perform her wedding six years ago this month. She and Andrew are parents now and while Kathryn is an elementary teacher, she is presently employed as a stay-at-home mom. She's a good one.

I'm careless. I try not to be and I attempt to pay attention but my thoughts wander so easily that I misplace whatever is not nailed down. Have you ever been out on a boat and found yourself drifting? It happens when you're unaware and you find yourself turned around, maybe even lost. Hebrews 2:1 tells us that, "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." How can we be so careless as to drift away from the best thing in our existence? Believe me, it was hard to tell Kathryn I was careless and had lost what I had promised her. How could I possibly face the Lord and admit I was careless with my soul? I hope I pay closer heed to my salvation than to a piece of silver on a chain, sentimental as it may have been. I don't want to lose another inheritance.

Applicable quote of the day:
"If you want to really know what your friends and family think of you, die broke, and then see who shows up for the funeral."
Gregory Nunn

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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