Spring 1993


There are days so dark that I seek in vain
For the face of my Friend Divine;
But tho’ darkness hide,
He is there to guide
By the touch of His hand on mine.
Oh, the touch of His hand on mine,
Oh, the touch of His hand on mine!
There is grace and power, in the trying hour,
In the touch of His hand on mine.

—Jesse Brown Pounds

For months I have had frequently recurring thoughts about how God’s touch affects our lives, and I have wanted to write down some of these thoughts along with some related thoughts about the effects of touching others, either physically or spiritually.

Words of the above hymn "The Touch of His Hand on Mine" have been a part of this concern about touching, and I searched diligently, first for a copy of the hymn and then for information about its origin. The search for the hymn was complicated by the way we Baptists seem to thrive on adopting a new hymnal every few years; I had to go back five hymn books ago before I found this haunting hymn. And an extensive search for the story behind the hymn went through local libraries, our State Baptist office, and on into Convention headquarters in Nashville. These efforts were not successful. I will keep looking.

I have been thinking too of a favorite song of the mid-70’s, often used by soloists, "He Touched Me." This last song reminds me of the time in March 1973 when our daughters, Susan and Beth, then 16 and 15 years old, were in an automobile accident, which I have mentioned in a previous newsletter. Details of the circumstances are still so vivid to me! It seemed providential that our family doctor, the late Dr. Robert Holley, was at the hospital when Beth and Susan were brought in. Dr. Holley immediately ordered x-rays for Susan. When Don and I reached the hospital, Dr. Holley was prepared to advise us that Susan must go to Memphis for further care. There she was closely observed and tested throughout the night. The next morning while the neurosurgeon was explaining to Don and me outside Susan’s room that her condition would require brain surgery and other special treatment, Susan overheard him and called to us to come into her room. Dr. Ray gently apologized to her and agreed that she should surely be included in the discussion. He explained to the three of us in laymen’s language the injury and the need for immediate surgery. After he left, with Don following him into the hail, Susan looked as directly as she could through her swollen eyes into mine and said, "Mama, am I going to have brain damage?" I told Susan as truthfully as I could that certainly we would be praying that she would not, but only after the surgery would we know. I could not bring myself to mislead her with, at that time, many uncertainties. The memory of her expression with the question were indelibly imprinted upon me. Now looking back I wonder at my calmness at such a crucial time. Surely God had touched me with that feeling of His hand upon mine. God did bless us and Susan recovered completely.

On the same afternoon of the accident, as I had gone home by way of Old Taylor Road, I had seen Dr. Beckett Howorth picking up trash on the roadside, and, as I have told him, my thoughts had been: "Dr. Howorth, please don’t do that! Those hands may be needed at any time for such greater work!" A few hours later he was picking the bits and pieces of glass from Beth’s face and head with those steady, skilled hands.

Susan had begun singing in the choir at Clear Creek Church and occasionally sang a solo. Her first solo after the accident was "He Touched Me." As I sat at the piano accompanying her, it came tome that just three months before He had touched her physically and made her whole. Though I am aware that the words have reference to salvation of the soul, on that Sunday and forever more they will remind me of how God touched Susan with His healing power.

Another of my favorites is the poem "The Touch of the Master’s Hand," by Myra Brooks Welch (See back page.). Our first Baptist Associational Missionary, Brother Glen Crawford, used it quite effectively in his evangelistic sermons. He recited it beautifully! It relates how an old violin was being sold at an auction for $3 when an elderly gentleman came forward from the crowd, took up the violin and its bow and "played a melody pure and sweet After his playing, the instrument sold quickly for $3,000. When questioned about the change, the auctioneer explained that it was "the touch of a Master’s hand".

We are reminded by these and other writings the extent the touch of His hand changes our lives. He does truly give us grace and power through His presence. It often takes incidents such as the accident to jolt us into realizing He is always there awaiting our turning to Him to understand His giving us the freedom to either welcome or reject His touch. We do not exhibit the faith of the woman who desired to touch the edge of His garment believing she would be healed as recorded in Matthew 9:20.

As I recently read Luke 18:15, "People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have Him touch them" and pictured people bringing babies to Jesus to have Him touch them, I almost cried, just thinking what it would be like to hand fourteen-months-old grandson Chase to Jesus and see Him hold him. I was reminded of the night Chase was born when Dr. Gerry Hopkins sat in the hospital nursery long after midnight rocking Chase—being sure all was well.

As I close my eyes and think of the scene of Jesus and the children surrounding Him, I cannot conceive a more beautiful picture. Certainly nothing can eliminate the intense suffering in the death of one of these precious little ones. When we are able to visualize the scene in heaven with Jesus and all children there, it is comforting to our aching hearts.
If Jesus were here today, would we show more faith? He is just as available to us now as He was to those described in the scripture.

The human touch is important too, and I regret that the present sensitivity to the touching of another often prevents the warmth and blessing which a touch can give to our personal relationships.

Recently Don was leaving for a trip to Israel. We had said our good-bye, but I followed him to the back porch and as he went down the steps I called to him. When he stopped and looked back, he was on a lower step. I leaned over and put both my hands on his head. I realized our positions were much like those of "the laying on of hands." We both smiled and I told him I supposed I was laying my hands on him as I began what was to be a nine-day-and-night prayer for his safe return. The incident was very meaningful for each of us.

As Jesus can impart just what we need by His touch, we can by our touch, transmit feelings of love, devotion, and caring concern. Not everyone is comfortable being touched, and we must be mindful of this, but those who are receptive to a touch can receive a lifting of the spirit simply by an ever-so gentle touch. At the funeral home those who come in, simply speak softly and offer a sympathetic embrace or gentle taking of the twisting hands often seem to do much more to lift the burdens of those grieving than those who feel the need to expound many words.

The touch of a mother’s hand on a feverish brow brings more comfort than words can describe. A toddler taking those first steps from the hands of one to the outstretched hands of another who he knows is there to catch him before he falls is a good picture of our faith that Jesus is always there to catch us when we fall.

Perhaps now that I have written these thoughts to you, they shall return less often to me. I am always thinking of how I can share my thoughts through this newsletter. The contact I have through the newsletter with those of you I know quite well brings to me a feeling of our souls having touched. To those I do not know, I trust this means of contact brings us together in spirit. The telephone calls and notes some of you are so kind to send bring me much joy. (I’ll tell you sometime about my Joy Box.) Every word I write comes from my heart. Since I cannot be actively, personally involved at the funeral home, I do enjoy this opportunity for contact. I feel by reading you have allowed me into your home and I thank you for that. My heart is filled with love and concern for each of you.


The Dying Person’s Bill of Rights

I have the right to be treated as a living human being until I die.

I have the right to maintain a sense of hopefulness, however changing its focus may be.

I have the right to be cared for by those who can maintain a sense
of hopefulness, however changing this might be.

I have the right to express my feelings and emotions about my
approaching death in may own way.

I have the right to participate in decisions concerning my case.

I have the right to expect continuing medical and nursing attention even though "cure " goals must be changed to ‘comfort" goals.

I have the right not to die alone.

I have the right to be free from pain.

I have the right to have may questions answered honestly.

I have the right not to be deceived.

I have the right to have help from and for my family in accepting my death.

I have the right to die in peace and dignity.

I have the right to retain may individuality and not be judged for my decisions, which may be contrary to the beliefs of others.

I have the right to discuss and enlarge my religious and/or spiritual experiences, regardless of what they may mean to others.

I have the right to expect that the sanctity of the human body will be respected after death.

I have the right to be cared for by caring, sensitive, knowledgeable people who will attempt to understand my needs and will be able to gain some satisfaction in helping me face may death.

—Southwestern Michigan Inservice Education council, quoted in "Ann Landers" syndicated newspaper column1978 


For a longtime, we have wanted to provide for your use books and other resources referred to in our newsletters and other materials which we think might be helpful to you in coping with personal needs- -whether personal illness, critical illness of a loved one, grief for the loss of a loved one, or any of the other personal problems that arise in the course of our lives. While some of the materials are available at local bookstores, some are out of print or are available from less convenient sources. By the time of the mailing of the next newsletter, we expect to be able to invite you to a new resource center at Waller Funeral Home. Our plan is to have available also very brief reviews of the material available so you will be able to make your own selection of materials which you may take home to use.

This new venture is part of our continuing effort to show our care and concern for you.


This being the season when we honor our mothers and fathers with special days, this drawing and poem are included in this issue of Seasons as our tribute to all the mothers and fathers living in this time and in our memories. (The poem was found in the Bible of Aunt Mae Denton—no information on its origin.)

Together Still

Let me hold your hand as we go downhill,
We’ve shared our strength and we share it still.
It hasn’t been easy to make the climb,
But the way was eased by your hand in mine.

Like the lake, our life has had ripples too,
Ill-health, and worries, and payments due,
With happy pauses along the way,
A graduation, a raise in pay.

At the foot of the slope, we will stop and rest,
Look back ~f you wish; we’ve been truly blessed,
We’ve been spared the grief of being torn apart
By death, or divorce, or a broken heart.

The view ahead is one of the best,
Just a little bit farther, amid then we can rest.
We move more slowly, but together still,
Let me hold your hand as
we go

The Touch of The Master’s Hand
‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer 
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin, 
But held it up with a smile:
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who’ll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar" then, "Two!" "Only two? 
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? 
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; 
Going for three—"But no, 
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man 
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, 
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet 
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, 
With a voice that was quiet and low, 
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?" 
And he held it up with the bow.
‘A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? 
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three? 
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, 
And going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried, 
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply
"The touch of a master’s hand."

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd.
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine;
A game—and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He’s "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

—Myra Brooks Welch

We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from February 28 to May 23, 1993.

Mrs. Desca McDaniel Mooney 02/28/93

Mrs. Gloria Moore Bees 02/28/93

Tanner Chase Robbing 02/28/93

Mr. Jessie James Heard 03/03/93

Mrs. Annie Mae Waldrip 03/04/93

Mrs. Loyce Faust Knight 03/08/93

Mr. George Galloway White 03/10/93

Mrs. Marion Kupp Knight 03/10/93

Mr. Herchell Staten Fitch 03/13/93

Mr. Thomas Meredith Dahl 03/16/93

Mrs. Lanelle Hodge McCoy 03/17/93

Mr. Max Wilburn Hipp 03/18/93

Mrs. Charles Ray "Joe" Shoffner 03/19/93

Mrs. Charlotte H. Leavell 03/22/93

Mr. Robert Roland Dowdell, Sr. 03/23/93

Mrs. Connie Love Gathright 03/23/93

Mr. William Henry Hickey 03/24/93

Mr. Wayne Cleo McLarty 03/26/93

Mr. Benjamin Leroy Holmes 03/27/93

Mr. Thomas Gordon Phillips 03/28/93

Mrs. Dovie Harding Bowles 03/30/93

Gloria Jean Saucier 04/02/93

Mrs. Mary Alice Johnston Bowie 04/06/93

Mr. Homer Benjamin Fitch, Jr. 04/06/93

Mr. Van Hudson Jones, Jr. 04/10/93

Mr. Toy James Phillips 04/10/93

Mrs. Evalena Lowry Alvis 04/11/93

Mrs. Helen Spencer Garrison 04/18/93

Mr. Duel Dean Neal 04/25/93

Mrs. Maggie Carroll Bishop 04/27/93

Mrs. Madine "Poochie" Ivy 04/30/93

Mrs. Elsie Grundvig 05/06/93

Mrs. Ila Van Winkle McAlexander 05/07/93

Mr. Leslie Allen Dailey, Jr. 05/07/93

Mrs. Clatis Graham Bruce 05/10/93

Mr. Everett Leath 05/11/93

Mr. Spurgeon William Petty, Sr. 05/18/93

Mrs. Mildred Mayfield Roberts 05/20/93

Mrs. Bernice Bailey Gault 05/21/93

Mr. Elbert Washington Davis 05/23/93

(Our 4th of July tribute)

"A/mighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners. Save us from violent discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought from hither and of many kindreds and tongues 

Inaugural prayer, George Washington
(From Feb. 19, 1979, FB News)

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