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Carrying on the Torch

From the Desk of Javon Miller

Respectfully Submitted By: Javon Miller Published: April 1, 2016 5:00 AM

Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

In Proverbs 12 verse 28, King Solomon wrote, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.”

My mind has been drawn to these and other like scriptures in the past week for a reason. My maternal grandfather passed over the proverbial “River of Jordan” into eternity.  Is it not a blessing when we can, with faith and confidence, have a hope that we will see our loved ones again in eternity? What would we have to look forward to if it were not for that hope?

Grandpa, Doddy (pronounced Dawdy) was an inspiration to me. He was a people person and a grand storyteller. We all granted him writers liberties when listening to his stories. What good storyteller will not, as time passes on, add a personal flare to his stories. Yet behind all this, what inspired me the most was his desire to serve God.

Doddy was born in 1927. He knew lean times. His childhood dream was to be a harness maker. Doddy fulfilled that dream most of his life. His first story, as a young boy, they moved to a farm. As boys will, first things first they explored the barn. Much to his delight, he found some old harnesses on top of a granary. After piecing together multiple old harnesses, he declared that he had a new one. In essence he was right. He had made something new out of the old worn out and scattered pieces.

Is this not much the same way that God now has pieced together the scattered wore out parts of Grandfather's life and reassembled them for eternity. The main difference is that now he shines with a newness that he never possessed here on Earth.

Doddy is once more reunited with Mommy, Grandmother (pronounced Mummy). Mommy died four years ago after years of heart problems. Doddy had a myriad of health problems and spent many times in the hospital. When Mommy was 16, she had TB. When Doddy was 19 or 20 he had heel spurs, a calcium growth on his heels that put him on the invalid list. Yet through it all, Mommy said she would marry him even if he never was healthy. His first job after marriage paid a meager $.75 an hour.

Doddy moved about 12 miles away from their home area to a different part of the community after about ten years of marriage so that they could be farmers. After the first week Doddy, told us, he had tears and vowed to follow through with his one year commitment and then he is headed back to Benton. Doddy always said that hills on that farm were steep. Some fields were so far away that, according to him, you had to pack a dinner bucket if you wanted to get anything done in a day. The farm consisted of two homesteads put together. The back homestead was tagged as the poorest one. Doddy always said that a rabbit had to carry a dinner bucket when crossing that farm, it was so poor he would starve before getting across. Remember that we need to grant him the benefit of writers liberties in these stories.

This will get us onto a proper perspective of how their life started off. Nonetheless, their family grew up in this hilly part of the country. Before the first year was up Doddy learn to like it. He stayed on the farm for eight years if I am not mistaken. At this point he had the opportunity to purchase a property with a shop and he finally has his own harness shop. He did work for Great-grandfather, Benton Mart, in a harness shop previously.  This entrepreneurial venture lasted, except for a couple year stint at a harness factory in an attempt at retirement, as Walnut Creek Harness until Doddy was 87 years old. At that point he sold the business.

After Mommy passed on, Doddy was extremely lonely. He often sat alone during the day. His health permitted him some mobility but kept him largely recliner bound. Through this all, he often expressed his desire to die and go to Heaven.  What inspired me most about him was his desire to pass on.  He had no fear of death, rather a longing for it. This is only possible if a person lives a life dedicated to God.

In his younger years, he always said that it took a wheelbarrow for him to carry a tune. Yet, in his older years he turned to songs for comfort.

I think you can follow where I say that we see a likeness of how God now took the broken scattered pieces of this life and makes a new life in eternity, just as Doddy in his childish mind created a new harness out of scattered worn out parts. My grandparents are once more reunited in eternity. They have joined four grandchildren in heaven. Today Doddy's voice will carry a beautiful melody that will resonate throughout all heaven.  After all the stress, pain, and heartaches that they endured here on Earth, God has brought all these pieces together in one glorious eternal life. Our challenge today is, will we lead a life that God can use to His glory in eternity?

When we pass on will we leave a testimony that we have followed God? Was our life fulfilling in a sense that we followed our heart and enjoyed what we spent doing in our life? Do our children pick up the joy that we have in the Lord?

We all know that if we have our affections attached to our possessions we will not desire to pass on to eternity. A very good story that I read will leave a lasting challenge to me. It clearly brings out the desire to serve at all costs. It went as follows.

A young girl had a serious illness. She was at the point of death. The only option left to live was a blood transfusion. Due to having a rare blood type, they could not use a conventional blood bank. After testing family members, it was found that her younger brother was a donor match.

The family explained to him that the only option for his sister to live was if he donated his blood for her. After some thought, he agreed to it. He went into the hospital to have the procedure done. The transfusion passed off successfully. In recovery, they noticed that he had a teary, pensive look on his face. The nurse asked if something was wrong or if he hurt somewhere. He said no, he feels alright but he is saddened at leaving everyone behind. When will he die?

With touched hearts they explained to him that he will not die. They only needed a small portion of his blood. The relieved boy smiled in understanding.

Is this not a touching story of a young lad that was willing to leave all behind to save his sister's life. He agreed to it thinking that he is actually giving his life. What a wonderful testimony.

Are we willing to do the same? These are all challenges that I brought to myself during this period. When I look at my own passing, and I ask you to do likewise, what will the testimony be that we leave behind? We all leave a legacy. It can be of regret or it can be fulfillment.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.”

“I have no greater joy than to see that my children walk in the Light (God).”

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