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Christianity/Religion Christmas Courage Culture God Goodness of man Life overcoming adversity Photography

The High Road of Humility–Part Two

Sister Garrett had asked my husband to speak with the young men if he felt it was the right thing, and so came the time after we had eaten when they all gathered in the living room, and Jerry spoke a few words to them. They were so quiet, so attentive, and so obviously moved by his words.

I don’t say too much about it except with our family and close friends, but my husband’s childhood was quite rocky, and that he so effectively pushed through significant challenges is a source of pride to me, and I believe to our children. He was reared in the state of Louisiana, the youngest of twelve children, and more than a few times he has said to me, “We were so poor.” They had no running water, no telephone, no indoor bath, and no car. When he was four years old, his mother died. When he was thirteen his father died.

The Buxtons are great people and his siblings did their best to help him through those challenging years. He lived with some of them from time to time, but he was not really happy. “I never felt I belonged anywhere. Always felt I was in the way.” For a couple of years while he was in high school he lived with a family who had a dairy farm. He rose at 3:30, milked cows, then delivered raw milk to people in the neighborhood before his first session. “I was so sleepy, I often fell asleep in class.”

I believe it was when he was a high school Junior that he went to live with his brother, Bill, who was already a school teacher, and who helped Jerry enroll in a college after he graduated from high school. He worked his way through those four years and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. A young man having a college degree today is not considered especially significant, but in those years, it was an unusual accomplishment.

He had received the Holy Ghost when he was 13 years old, and during his Junior year in college, God called him into the ministry.

“The rest,” they say, “is history.” He has taught school, founded a school, pastored three churches, married a pretty good wife (feel free to snicker here), and sired four children who all are living good lives, and who are filled with the Holy Ghost. So to those young men Saturday afternoon, he gave the good word, “You Can Make It!” No matter your challenge, no matter your situation, “you can make it.” Some of the young men have solid godly families, some have sketchy relationships with their fathers, and some have no fathers at all in their homes.

So ended the afternoon of a memorable, blessed day. Look carefully at the last picture, and you will see that not everything was of a spiritual, holy nature. . .which is quite as should be!

 

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Christianity/Religion Courage Death Family Goodness of man Grief Photography

Face of Beauty; Face of Grief

In my estimation, he has been elevated, and could you understand Dustin’s entire history you would likely agree with me. Let me tell you a little of his story.

Some time ago, Dustin Halliday’s father Daniel had a heart attack, an episode that left him with significant brain impairment. He cannot talk. He does not open his eyes. His hands are clenched, his feet are curled. For many months Daniel was treated in a VA hospital, and it was during those times that Dustin often begged to have his father released to him.  Dustin wanted to care personally for his father.

A couple of weeks ago, the dream was realized. Now, on a hospital bed in Dustin and Misty’s living room lies Daniel. On the front door is a warning sign: Oxygen in use. Daniel is totally dependent on others; he can do nothing for himself. Someone else is responsible for his feeding, his medication, his bathing–his very breath. At times, others in the family lovingly tend Daniel, but the preponderance of his care comes from Dustin.

Daniel bleeds, and in the long, dark nights, Dustin tends him. He lifts his father’s legs, arranges the cloths, then pulls snug the tabs. His is a life-watch, a death-watch. It is of antiquity, of creation, of beginnings and endings. More often than not, though, throughout history, women have been those who people such a room.

I visited a few days ago. Dustin stood near the top of the hospital bed. I watched as he lifted his hand and caressed the slick head of his father. Dustin’s handsome face was a study in grief; marble chiseled by a master, canvass plied with dark and heavy strokes. Tears cascaded down his face. Tender. He ran his hand over the face of his father.

Dustin is not a man of softness. As is true for many people, his has been a life of challenge and of extreme grief. He has responded in a manly, strong way. Tonight, as his father nears the inevitable crossing place that leads from this life into that of another world, Dustin delicately ministers to his father. With love, he watches and washes and prays. His is a face of beauty.

Dustin Halliday, you are a prince.

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America Bible Children Christianity/Religion Church Culture Death Goodness of man Life love My Family My Home Pentecostal Photography Royalty Uncategorized

My Father, Farrell E. Forrest

My dad was born in Springfield, Missouri, but when he was a small child he moved with his parents to the hamlet of Biggers, Arkansas. During Dad’s early years his father abandoned his mother and their five children.
Despite this sad development, he had a happy childhood, and one of the stories he used to tell me revolved around a contest among the siblings to see which one could dress the most quickly. My lively dad would run back and forth to gauge the progress of each child, thereby hampering his own, so that he seldom won the game.
He was a winner, though, for he was always ambitious, and throughout his lifetime, he was known to be a hard worker. He quit school in the eighth grade to support his mother and his siblings.
In his early twenties, in Memphis, Tennessee, Dad met my mother. A few months later they were married, and a year after, in the small town of Portageville, Missouri, I was born.
Dad was feisty, impetuous and fun-loving, and he probably nearly drove my saintly mother crazy. Many times he would come in from work, rubbing his hands together in happy anticipation, a smile spread over his handsome face and say, “Let’s go to Portageville.” We children would dance in glee for we dearly loved our aunts and uncles and cousins who lived there. My mother would gather our things, and off we would go.
For as long as I can remember–even almost to the year of his death–my dad pastored churches, even pioneering several. They were relatively small churches, and he always worked a secular job. For many years, he was a door-to-door salesman, selling Fuller Brushes, and then Singer Sewing Machines. He eventually had his own shop–Forrest Sewing Center.
My dad was extremely studious and spent many hours preparing for every sermon he preached. Although of modest means, he always found money to invest in Bible commentaries and other books. I can see him now in our small living room, a Bible on his lap with two or three other books opened and stacked on each other. We youngsters were the library aides, and when he wanted another book, he would call for Homeletics, Handsful on Purpose, or Clarks commentaries, citing the volume he needed. Some of them had Roman numeral designations, and part of my mathematical training was in learning that system as I found commentaries for my father

For his 80th birthday, which proved to be mere months before his death, I threw a big party for my dad. Did all the planning long distance (with the help of some of my family) for I lived in California and the party was at a hotel in Springfield. Dapper, yet, wasn’t he. I bought all his clothes for that day, including a pair of silk shorts which I laughingly presented. At the party, I quizzed whether or not he was wearing his silk underwear.

His eyes crinkled in their usual way. “Shirley, I couldn’t wear those things.”

Years ago, his body was laid to rest in Greenlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri. He awaits now the resurrection.

I honor my dad on this Father’s Day.

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My devotional blog is here.