It was a once in a lifetime event, and I am thinking that we won't see some of these dear folks until heaven home, as Bob's cousins are scattered across the country. And even though I have tried over the years to explain connections and relatives to our sons, Ben still came up to me after and proclaimed, I did not know I had another blonde girl cousin with our last name. Girl cousins are kinda rare to him. (He has two more girl cousins I bet he would not recognize a room full of relatives.)
And how come the very same child who has not listened to your explanations of relations obviously did not listen to the good sermon about being gentle and kind, either? During the reception, he decides to "kid" one of the cousins wives, and all over a chair. Shesh. We had been sitting for two hours during the wonderful tribute where every sibling, and every grandchild spoke. Why did Ben decide to be a pill with Lisa? I had to take a snowball out of his hands. And Bob was oblivious. I try not to yell at my husband unless it is an emergency, and Ben needed a man to sit on him. gently. If he had not driven with us, I would have been tempted to ask him to leave. I wanted him to meet his relatives, and know he is part of a big family that gets along. What got into him? Someone made a crack about his long hair, but he gave the his oft repeated "it would make my Dad too happy to cut my hair". Seriously? Yet, he gets along with his Dad and shows Bob stuff he has built or done at his solar power constrution job. Gotta keep praying.
Gary Horton came and spoke yesterday at our church. It was so good to be reminded to keep praying...especially for the hard to love, the pierced, the tattooed, the difficult, insecure, rebellious. I look at them as carrying a lot of baggage, but they are precious to God, and need God to change their lives and give them purpose. We need to pray that God open doors and get Gary into school to give the Gospel. That is what our future generation needs.
One story stands out in my mind from the day. Bob's uncle had the same name and signature as his own father. When Bob's uncle was overseas in the Battle of the Bulge, and sending his $22 a month paycheck back home, it was either put in a joint account or the bank messed up, because when Bob's granddad wrote checks, he used up all Bob's uncle's money. When Bob's uncle and dad came home from WWII, they came home to no money, and all their possessions had been sold by a second wife. All their precious books, and things, gone. And Bob's uncle was not bitter about it. He never complained nor spoke of it, but went on and got a job and got married, and raised a wonderful family, and made a conscious decision to be a better father and husband than he had had. a daily, conscious decision...to start his day reading his Bible, praying, looking into the Word for what to do, how to act, and then he lived it. He was respected all his life in his town, and seen to be strong and gentle. Reflected in the stories from the sons and daughter, was this theme of a true gentleman.
Bob's oldest brother, both a preacher and a prof at a Bible college, did okay in the sermon portion. Everyone else loved it, and thought it great, but to me it was just okay. I wanted more about passing the baton. I wanted more about admonishing the next generation as this looked like the last opportunity for that. But, God the Holy Spirit directed Joel to preach other things. Like, be careful what God you serve. A god of your own making, or the One True God.
Maybe they ran out of room on the bulletin, but the myriad of nieces and nephews, grands and greats were left off. And Bob's uncle's influence of the El Paso Williamsons was not mentioned here either as it had with Aunt Mary's funeral. At Aunt Mary's funeral, we were all directed to sit shoulder to shoulder, and the orphaned El Paso Williamsons got to say thanks. This time, we had wandered in early, and sat apart. I was so glad James and Amber were there to hear the stories. And I hope Ben appreciates them some day. But, I wish Andy and Lauren could have heard them, too. As these stories from Missouri, Arkansas, New Mexico, and El Paso are part of their rich heretage, too.
Bob's uncle's daughter shared some of the near death experiences which sound more like a gift and something to ponder, as she was amazed they happened while all three of them were there. Usually, her brothers took turns flying into town to see their Dad, and at the end, the lucid times seemed to be rare as they knew he was ready to go, and yet lingered for a few weeks in hospice. At one point, he seemed to be talking to another place when he bold demanded of some unseen entity: "who are you? come here, who are you?" and then proclaimed, "I am William R. Williamson, junior, and I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ..." as if in some part of the angelic conflict, his spirit was still lucid and alive and awake. A man of prayer to the end, a prayer warrior all his life, doing spiritual battle to the end, too. All three of his children witnessed it and were so thankful for this and other glimpses into that unseen realm. They could tell a difference in when he was halucinating or confused, and when he was clearly declaring or conversing with the next world.