We are in the beginning of the hurricane season and right off, we have a whopper coming in and threatening the State of Florida, and continuing up the East Coast of the U.S.  I pray that this storm will move to the northeast and just meander out to sea and give the whales and large fish something to be concerned about.  We certainly don’t need this but there is one thing we cannot control, and that is the weather.  I hope everyone is prepared and will get through this next week safely.

I haven’t been able to write for the last week.  My sister, whom I mentioned in a column a few weeks ago, passed away sooner than we expected.  We went to Ft. Myers for the funeral and the burial was held in Plant City where she was buried next to our mother.  Carol battled cancer for four years.  I was so fortunate to have her for my sister as well as the telephone conversation on the Friday morning before she passed, on Sunday.  She was certainly ready to enter the gates of Heaven and I can just imagine the conversations she is having with our mother and sister, Jean.

As if that was not enough to deal with in one week, the Wednesday before my sisters funeral, Cheryl received word that her Aunt Lillie, who lived in Lakeland, passed away also, and the funeral was slated for the day after we buried my sister. 

All of this led me to imagine all the times I could have gone to see our kinfolk but didn’t because it was too far, or a convenient time just couldn’t be found.  I suppose all of us go through those thoughts when we lose someone we love and care about, and even though there is some guilt associated with those thoughts, we should remember that the road also goes two ways.  Everyone is so busy with their own lives and sometimes not even enough time exists to care about our neighbors, and sometimes our own children.  

It isn’t that we don’t care – more like – we don’t have time.  We will take care of that tomorrow.  Something more important is pressing on us today and we don’t want to be distracted.  

In the novel “Overcomer” by Chris Fabry (now a motion picture) an incident happens which tells us the importance we place on our own time and desires.  Coach John Harrison is speaking to a man in a hospital room and as he is leaving the Coach says he will pray for him.  Well, a few days later the coach goes back and visits the man and the patient asks “if” John had prayed for him as he promised.  Well, John admits that he didn’t.  I have been so guilty of that broken promise, and I suspect that most of us, if we are honest, have been guilty of the same.  Not that it was intentional – but we were so busy that we forgot.

In church yesterday, our pastor brought out this incident, and again, I was reminded of how we have become so concerned with what we want and desire that we ignore what the Holy Spirit wants us to do.  Sometimes, when we have a thought to do something nice for someone, maybe even praying for others, that it is not our thought but the Lord conveying a message to us to act, as Jesus would do.  I don’t ever imagine that our Lord and Savior would be too busy for any of us at any time, but we sometimes, place Him on a shelf and let dust settle before something happens and we remember the source of all things.  

Time is something that is not going to stop and continues at a relentless pace.  The football team doesn’t have enough time left on the clock to win or the clock is not going fast enough to prevent the other team from scoring.  The clock continues at the same speed, for everyone.  Time is used wisely by some and not so much by others, but regardless, there never seems to be enough.

In all my years, which are many, I don’t believe I’ve accomplished one thing which has been remembered as something great, or mind boggling, or terrible, for that matter.  However, the relationships I’ve had with people are the things which are remembered.  The conversations, or deeds done for others, or those things done for me, personally, are what matters the most.  

We have no real clue when the Lord is going to call us home.  Carol had been given six to nine months, and she decided that she didn’t want Helen (our other sister) or me to come down to Ft. Myers for at least a month so that she could get some things done.  For some reason she called me on Friday morning, Aug. 16th and we talked for 23 minutes and 51 seconds.  Sunday morning, she passed from this world.  We had a wonderful conversation, never realizing it would be our last, but God’s will for her to go home.  Six months changed to four days.

Aunt Lillie was 97 years old and we saw her about a week before she passed.  That visit meant a lot to Cheryl and to Aunt Lillie, and naturally, no one thought it would be the last visit, but it was.

Time continues, and it will continue whenever we go on to our real home.  While I am here, I hope that I will value the friendships and remember to do the things which I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me to do or say.

God bless all of you.  God bless Charlton County, Georgia and the USA.