Saturday, November 15, 2014
Gary of Talbotton
This afternoon when I got home, I turned on the answering machine and heard a voice from a long way back in my past. The voice I did not recognize since she was a child when I went to the Talbotton Church to pastor her family's church. Now she is grown and was calling to tell me about the death of her father. When she identified herself, I knew why she was calling. As she spoke, I sensed this sadness and loss even though it had been a long time since I had seen Gary.
When I was his pastor, he gave me a gift that he continued to give me over these thirty years. It was the gift of encouragement. He was that kind of man. While he was wrong when he predicted I would be a bishop, it was simply his way of encouraging me to be the man God was calling me to be. He was certainly not blind to my shortcomings, but he always seemed to call forth from me a desire to live well. I enjoyed being in his company back then and I enjoyed hearing from him and his wife over the years. When I started blogging, I included him in my list of ten people who would automatically receive each posting. I included him because he was a person of value to me and because deep down I knew he would read what I wrote and encourage me to keep at it. We all need those kind of people in our lives.
I am thankful tonight that Gary has been a part of my life. He enjoyed his life, loved his wife, adored the houseful of daughters, and was faithful to God. It is strange thinking that he is no longer a part of our world and that I shall not be able to see him again on this side, but it gives me joy to know that while he is not here any longer, he is there with the Father. His legacy of encouragement has blessed me and it is my prayer that I can be a giver of the same gift to those around me.