Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Byes and Thank Yous

On Friday evening while we were getting ready for our daughter's piano recital, we received word that Michael's father passed away unexpectedly. We have been in a whirlwind the last few days as we have been dealing with all the things required of us. Much to our dismay, Michael's father had made no preparation for this day. He had no final wishes for us to carry out, and there was no life insurance policy to help us with the final expenses. This brought much stress to Michael and his brother as they stood face to face with the funeral director requiring a large sum of money to be paid in 30 days. God is so faithful, but the funeral director wanted more than just Biblical promises on his payment. With the help of many different people, most of the needed money was donated. I am so thankful to the Lord that people were willing to help us when we needed it most.
I did not share this part of the story just to tell you of our plight of woes, but it brought some business things to our minds that we need to attend to. I do not want my children to feel undone if an untimely death should occur in our home. We will be making some needed changes to make our wishes legal in the event that something should happen to Michael or myself. It was very disheartening at a time of mourning to be faced with financial issues. We are a typical American family who intends to take care of this type of business soon, but Michael's father felt the same way I am sure. However, his time frame just ran out before he got around to dealing with the business at hand.
Whenever a death of a parent occurs, Michael and I try our best to take away something positive from that situation. We look at our parents', and as grown children we can see their strong points as well as their weak ones. We want to do better than our parents' in some areas of their lives. Just as I am sure that our children will want to do better than us in certain areas in our lives. Death brings a time of honest reflection, and I pray that we can implement the changes in our lives that need to be addressed.
Upon my Dad's death, being able to have some of his earthly possessions brought me some comfort. Shooting his gun made me feel somewhat closer to him. I know that it helped to bring fond memories back of when I was a child being taught by him to shoot. Michael was able to experience this himself this weekend by bringing back some of his dad's woodworking tools. I watched as he looked through jigs that his dad had made for certain jobs, and I understood that it brought a connection to his dad. He was thrilled to find templates that his dad had made of many different kitchen cabinet doors. There is something special about being able to use the tools of the trade that has been handed down from generation to generation. We are truly blessed. I look around our home and see a beautiful cedar gun cabinet built by Michael's grandfather. I look in our shop and see cabinets and benches and tools used and built by Michael's father. I know both his father as well as his grandfather would be very pleased to see Michael's sons so enthusiastic to learn the art of woodworking.
Michael's father was a Vietnam veteran. Due to his military service, we had a 21 gun salute at his burial. It was overwhelming to me to see these men salute and pay tribute to a fellow soldier. As Taps was played on the bugle, I was moved to great emotion. That song stirs up so much in my heart. I am so thankful to all the soldiers who has fought to secure our freedom. Michael served 12 years in the Navy, and I have a very soft place in my heart for soldiers as well as sailors. As we were finishing up dinner at Cracker Barrel on our trip back to Tennessee, a world war 2 veteran came in to eat dinner. I could tell that he was a veteran by the hat he wore. I was pricked in my heart to tell him thank you for all that he gave to serve our country. I understand only a small part of the sacrifice, but I do my best to teach my children that it was real people that gave their lives to serve their country. Unfortunately I did not act upon my conviction. I missed the opportunity to say thank you to this dear man. I was uncertain and embarrassed to tell him the gratitude that was in my heart. I was unsure how he would respond to me. Just seeing this man brought tears to my eyes, and I knew that having a conversation with him would put me into a crying fit. I suggested to Michael that he should take the boys over and thank him, but I guess that the Lord pricked my heart not Michael's heart. I am sad that I did not follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in this situation. My heart is heavy because I did not obey Him. However, I know that God's mercies are new every morning, and I won't make that same mistake again. So to all you veterans out there thank you for the sacrifice that you gave. Words are too shallow to express the gratitude in my heart.

grace and peace,

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