Every life lived well keeps teaching lessons
The older you get, someone said years ago, the more funerals you'll attend.
It makes sense, but no one realizes the truth of that observation until ... well, until he's older.
I suppose I have now reached that stage. I've been to a number of funerals, family visitations and celebrations of life just in the past few weeks.
But, you know, death encourages us to think about life - and the lessons and stories left behind.
From my Aunt Dora Stevens, I learned that a person should always look her best in public. And even at home. The only hair appointment she missed in years came on the day she died. After my sister admitted she no longer ironed clothes, Dora said, "Well, I guess that's OK if you don't care what you look like."
Dora, the most persnickety housekeeper in the Western Hemisphere, could spot a tiny spider web in her home - or somebody else's - from 50 paces.
She was just as particular in caring for her family. She was devoted to her daughter, who was ill most of her life. She cared daily for her son-in-law, who was beaten and robbed while serving as a Marine on Okinawa and left maimed for life.
When her husband was admitted to a nursing home, she took him three meals a day. She never flagged in her caregiving.
And when a neighbor needed help, Dora was there.
From my friend Dan McGill, I learned the importance of facing life - and death - with optimism. "I don't have any reason not to be optimistic," he said, just two days before he died. "My faith is strong."
A man of wit and wisdom, Dan also could have taught us about patience, just as the two mules he plowed taught him as a boy. The mules, he said, had been trained to take two steps and stop, take two steps and stop, giving Dan's uncle, a victim of polio, a chance to catch up. Dan learned to cope and to be patient.
From Loyd Strickland, I learned that it pays to be generous. Loyd did well in the egg business and eventually formed a foundation to help countless people and institutions. His contributions are legend, but I remember most his determination to get a junior college established in his home county. He was a giver.
Each of these people was granted opportunities and responsibilities, two words that hold hands all through life. And each embraced them willingly.
The great sports commentator Red Barber wrote: "I believe very firmly that our lives are guided by forces that we are unaware of, and that there is very much a personal, watchful God. Otherwise, I don't think you can account for the dimension or direction of your life."
Who else would have known that Dora Stevens would be called on to be the consummate caregiver, that Dan McGill would be an inspiration to all who knew him, that Loyd Strickland would be able to give generously?
Who else? No one.
|Barnwell 45 District||Visit|
|Barnwell City Website||Visit|
|Barnwell County Arts Council||Visit|
|Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce||Visit|
|Barnwell County Government||Visit|
|Barnwell County Library||Visit|
|Barnwell County SC Virtual Museum||Visit|
|Big 7 Association||Visit|
|Blackville Municipal Website||Visit|
|Blackville-Hilda School District 19||Visit|
|CodeRed Alert System||Visit|
|Edisto Research and Education Center||Visit|
|JDA - Jefferson Davis Academy||Visit|
|Salkehatchie Arts Center||Visit|
|South Carolina National Heritage Corridor||Visit|
|The Circle Theatre||Visit|
|Thoroughbred Country – Regional Tourism Organization||Visit|
|Town of Williston||Visit|
|Williston-Elko School District 29||Visit|
No blogs have been published.