Thursday, April 13, 2017

Monumental Decisions

As we near in two days the ninth anniversary of Dad's death, I find myself nostalgic. This is from December 29, 2012.

Good morning again from the friendly McDonald’s in Nashville, Arkansas. (I read an article in the past week about the declining popularity of this fast food giant. Most comments accompanying the piece decried the lack of service but this one, like many in small towns, is the model of graciousness to its customers.) I’m enjoying my stay here as I always do. You can drive down the main avenue in town and except for the name changes of some of the stores, it looks exactly like it did when we came when I was a boy. I find comfort in continuity and familiarity.

Last night, Uncle Bill and Aunt Tommye came over for supper which was just the kind of meal I remember eating here when I was little. We sat down to talk afterwards and before I knew it, the clock indicated it was close to 9:30 PM. I didn't say much, just listened as Aunt Jerry and Uncle Bill, my mother’s surviving siblings, and their spouses, Uncle Jack and Aunt Tommye, waxed eloquently on our family history and life in this community which once thrived in the peach industry. I loved these discussions from my earliest memories since we had no relatives where we lived in Nebraska. And the land we sat on has been in our family since 1850- 1850!- or eleven years before Abraham Lincoln became the sixteenth president of the United States. The feeling of indebtedness I feel is overwhelming. Honestly, I would not recognize the portraits of those matriarchs and patriarchs who built lives, culminating in the birth of my mother, that made my existence possible. But I recognize the foundations they laid have given to me a chance to live a life profitable for myself and others.  I work with youngsters everyday who have not been similarly blessed and I know they are missing something that I have always taken for granted.

I really like the fact that both Matthew and Luke list the family trees of Jesus. It was obviously very important throughout the Scriptures that the Jewish people knew their ancestors and could recite them. Last month, Aunt Jerry and Uncle Jack placed a monument, the term is an obelisk, in the family cemetery at Corinth, several miles outside of Nashville. On the four sections at the top are listed information about my grandparents, Ruth McClure and Jord Chesshir. Engraved on the four sides are Ruth and Jord's children, including my mother, and the children of each of the siblings. This is an important piece of ground for us. Not only are there many of my kinfolk buried on this site- as I will be-, my parents were married at this location in the church building which once graced this plot. The granite statue my aunt and uncle erected is a reminder to the rest of us of those who went ahead of us. When the Israelites were entering the Promised Land after the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Lord had them build a  twelve stone memorial on the banks of the Jordan River as a reminder of what the Lord had done for them. On a smaller scale, I see the one stone marker in the New Corinth Cemetery as a reminder of what the Lord has done for me through the example of relatives who died decades before my mother, Sarah Nelda Chesshir, was born. I am indebted and now, my name is also etched in stone. It's a big responsibility.

Applicable quote of the day:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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