Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Circle

In several weeks, we'll enjoy some time off from school for Thanksgiving. As is my custom, I will be driving to Kansas to spend the holiday with my brothers and their families. The longer I live, the more I realize how blessed I have been. This is from July 6, 2009.

(The picture is me eulogizing Dad at his graveside service in Arkansas on April 19, 2008. Photo courtesy of my cousin, Marsha.)
According to mapquest, it is exactly 368.4 miles from my apartment to the center of Nashville, Arkansas. But miles don't do it justice. How do you measure the distance to another world? As we gathered on my mother's birthplace- and that of her two sisters and brother- it all came back. Chesshir family reunions transport me to childhood and my siblings and cousins share the journey to my best little boy memories. My Aunt Jerry and Uncle Jack, who graciously host the bi-annual event, have built three lodgings on the farm where my mom was born and grew up. A number of us gathered there over the Fourth of July weekend and had a wonderful time. There was food and fishing, fireworks and fellowship, the ingredients of any perfect reunion. I can't wait for the next one.

My schedule is more flexible than many of my relatives so I was the first to arrive on Thursday afternoon. After supper, Uncle Jack, Aunt Jerry, and I headed to the New Corinth Cemetery to see Mom and Dad's grave. I asked about the older section of the cemetery so Uncle Jack drove across the road and we took a walking tour of the original plot. Some of the gravestones are dated in the Civil War era. As we strolled through the graveyard, which I had never visited, Uncle Jack told me something about almost every person buried there, the majority of whom are my kinfolks. Talking to Uncle Jack, who has done an extensive genealogy on my mother's family, was like reading a history book. I've heard most of the names but I can't really place who fits into what piece of the puzzle that is me. Some day, if the Lord does not come back first, I'll claim my spot in that resting place. I hope our family is raising up another Uncle Jack who reminds us of those who made it possible for us to be alive. Take out a link in the chain and there is no Steve. The writer of Hebrews reminds us in chapter 11 of those men and women who went before us as great examples of faith. They were imperfect but they are remembered for their trust in the Lord. The perfect epitaph for these men and women, who were almost all directly related to each other, is penned in Hebrews 11, verse 38: 'the world was not worthy of them.' Maybe someone might feel that's an appropriate engraving on the headstones for this generation of my family, or yours. The story is being written now. Time will tell.

Applicable quote of the day:
"If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion."
Ashleigh Brilliant

The best reunion song ever is the classic Carter Family tune, Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Click here to listen to a terrific rendition by June and Johnny Cash and family.

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

No comments: