Spring 1997


The change of seasons overwhelms me with the feeling of Gods presence. I am filled with an awe of God. He has planned the seasons with their changes for our pleasure. Every season has its own special beauty. Nothing is happenstance in His care for us.

During the last eight years while we were living in Jackson, spring may have been this beautiful here at home; however, if it was, I missed it. How glorious it has been! Along with the spring blooming shrubs which I have enjoyed and cut, I have also included the lovely budding and leafing of the trees. I counted eleven different plants in one of my arrangements.

One outside activity which I continue to enjoy is hanging out the wash. ‘Hanging clothes is the expression I have always heard and used. I enjoy hanging clothes and I missed this pleasure while we were in Jackson. There were no clothes lines in Northpointe and I feel sure my spreading things on the shrubbery would have been frowned on by neighbors and passersby.

As I fill the clothes line I can almost hear my mother admonish me to hang them neatly, making them like a pretty picture, and I feel her approval which was always important tome as I carefully follow the pattern I learned from her. I always step back or turn back to see the completed picture. Sometimes I return to change just one piece—such foolishness you might say— but one of life’s simple pleasures to me. Recently as I watched an assortment of items blowing on the line, I got my camera and took a picture. Before too long, no one will know about clothes lines and hanging clothes. This picture will be included when I write my detailed account in "Mama Remembers."

On a recent frosty April morning as I stepped outside with my clothes basket, I paused to take a deep breath of the fresh clean air. I threw open my arms and exclaimed, "My God, how great You are!" I was overwhelmed by the smell and by the sounds amid the silence of the beautiful early morning. In this profound beauty I could hardly restrain my desire to run to search for His physical presence. I wanted to touch Him and proclaim my praise before Him. Immediately I felt and knew I need not go anywhere to find Him. I was surrounded by Him on every side as far as my eyes could see.

Last week I drove across the road to the hill in front of our house. I stopped facing southeast, overlooking pasture, cropland, and tree-covered hills. As I went through the pasture, the cows were munching on their breakfast of hay in a field where young tender sweet grass was already beginning. I went slowly not to disturb the small calves lying nearby, some perhaps several weeks old and one younger, perhaps even born the night before, with its mother continuing to lovingly nudge and touch her little one, perhaps determining if all was well. To have never watched a cow as she caressingly reassures a newborn that this new place is right for him is to have missed a real joy. After passing, I stopped and looked back, still enjoying this scene of the cows and their calves. I counted thirteen in this group but reminded myself that these are not our cattle, nor do they belong to our neighbor who rents the pasture. The Lord has declared that the cattle on a thousand hills are His. 

God has never made Himself more real to me than in recent months. As we were moving from Jackson, I learned that facial and other head pains are not sinus problems and that neck and shoulder pains are not arthritis. These pains are from the stress and tension brought about by the constant tinnitus. Being at home now on the farm has not lessened the noises, however, being rested enables me to cope better with the pain and the "must-dos" of my life.

I feel close to God here on our hill. Many days I do not leave our spot. On the walks and drives I take alone I think how like spring with its burst of new life is the new life God made possible in the giving of His son to die for me and His resurrection to affirm that I shall be with Him eternally. And I wonder, with God’s world so beautiful, what must heaven be like!

Flowers appear on the earth; The season of singing has come. (Song of Solomon 2:12a )



Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander in the nineteenth century wrote 400 hymns, primarily for children. This one, All Things Bright and Beautiful, has a message for people of all ages as it speaks with vivid simplicity of our beautiful world.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small, 
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors, 
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain, 
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them ever one.

The tall trees in the greenwood, 
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water
We gather every day:

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty
Who has made all things well.


Guilt often accompanies the other emotions following the death of a loved one. Rabbi Harold S. Kushner in his book How Good Do We Have to Be? A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness* assures us that being human means we can never be perfect and that we do not have to be perfect for people and God to love us. Though we should do the best we can, we should not let guilt make us miserable. Rabbi Kushner gives the following examples of how we take on unwarranted guilt.

"Some years ago two elderly women in my congregation died the same week in January. One afternoon I visited both families. At the first home, the oldest son said to me, ‘It’s my fault that Momma died. I should have insisted on her going to Florida, gotten her out of this miserable cold weather. If I had done that, she would still be alive today.'

"I tried to console him, then made my way to the second family’s home, where the oldest son told me, ‘I feel it’s my fault that Mother died. If only I hadn’t insisted on her going to Florida. The long plane ride and the abrupt change of climate were too much for her.'"

Rabbi Kushner says: "At the end, if we are brave enough to love, strong enough to forgive, generous enough to rejoice in another’s happiness, and wise enough to know there is enough love to go around for us all, then we can achieve a fulfillment that no other living creature will ever know."

published by Little, Brown and Company: New York, 1996

A Tribute to Our Fathers and Mothers

During this season of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we are again including this illustration and poem (author unknown) as our tribute to all mothers and fathers living in this time and in our memories.

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 wax,
A graduation, a raise in pay.

At the foot of the slope, we will stop and rest,
Look back, if you wish: we’ve been truly blessed.
We’ve been spared the gri ef 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, and then we can rest.
We move more slowly, but together still,
Let me hold your hand as 

The Story of Rizpah and Reflections

Some of the women of the Bible are remembered for one grace or one work of mercy, among these are: Dorcas, for her care of widows and clothing the poor; Martha, for her gracious hospitality; Anna, the prophetess, for her fastings and prayers day and night; and Rizpah, for her loving care of the dead. The story of Rizpah is found in II Samuel 21:1-14.

Rizpah was one of Saul’s concubines. Saul broke an oath Joshua made with the Gibeonites and sealed in the Lord’s name not to destroy them by the sword. After Saul’s death, the Gibeonites sought revenge.

For three years Israel had experienced a severe famine. David was told that the famine was in consequence of Saul’s slaughter of the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites demanded that seven sons of Saul, two of them sons of Rizpah, be hung in punishment for the sin of their father. The Gibeonites took the seven men and hanged them in chains from the trees on a hill overlooking the City of David. The bodies were left there exposed to all the elements. Upon a great flat rock there on the hill, Rizpah spread sackcloth, which is associated with mourning for the dead and with public expression of humiliation. She covered herself and the bodies of those slain with sackcloth. She took her watch of what would be five long, lonely months.

The only variance of Rizpah’s days and nights was the coldness of the nights and the change of threats there on that hill. She must have sprung to her feet often throughout the darkness to beat back the wild beasts of the field and throughout the daylight to drive the vultures of the air from those shriveling bodies. Rizpah had been denied the comfort of a decent burial of those dear to her, those whose bones were of her bones and flesh of her flesh, the bodies that had housed the spirits of those she deeply loved, the sons she had held and touched with a mother’s love. She could not save them, she could, however, give protection to the lifeless forms until they could be buried.

Perhaps memories of happy occasions of the past as she had cared for her sons as babies, children, and young men helped Rizpah through this selfimposed exile and loneliness. Neither Rizpah nor her sons were responsible for their tragic deaths. They had done nothing to deserve this terrible punishment. Innocent people often suffer for the sins of others—for the sins of their fathers, for the sins of their rulers.

As harvest was finished, the rains came. The famine would end. Rizpah’s faithfulness and patient waiting were reported to King David and he was reminded of the seven bodies still hanging. David had the bodies of Saul and Jonathon brought and buried along with these remains in a family grave.

Rizpah’s vigil was past—but not her grief. She was left with this throughout her old age. Instead of the joy she might have had with her sons, she was left alone.

It has been said that one of God’s greatest gifts is that we are not allowed to see the future which would tempt us to think we will not be able to face the challenges. Indeed, moment to moment, one day at a time, we face our joys and sorrows.

Like Rizpah, many today watch and wait in their sorrow for relief. They, like Rizpah, have no power to change or control the conditions which take away those they love. As she kept her lonely guard there day and night, she must surely have dealt with the age-old question of "Why?" We continue to be haunted by this seemingly unanswerable question.

Not finding an acceptable answer, we continue searching for comfort. Actions which bring consolation may appear to others as foolhardy as Rizpah’s staying upon the hill did to her family and friends. In sorrow each is entitled to use whatever means bring peace. Further, these are entitled to acceptance and understanding of others as they confront and conquer their grief.

Yes, Rizpah did what she could. She desired proper respect for her dead and gave all she had to bring this to pass. It was important to Rizpah that others know her sons were lamented, that the manner of death was not a reflection upon them. She desired to see them buried in keeping with the customs of their place and time.

We have no further scripture concerning Rizpah.

Some writers have paralleled Rizpah’s experience with her sons with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, at the foot of His cross on Golgatha. Rizpah’s sons were sacrificed to atone for the sin of one man. Mary’s son, the Son of God, was given as an atonement for the sins of all who would believe in Him.

We are reminded that Rizpah did not have the knowledge of the birth, death, and’ resurrection of our Lord as inspiration and encouragement. Further, she did not have the Holy Scripture for comfort. Rizpah stands as an example to each of us bringing forth the strength of mind and body to do whatever our spirit requires of us.

—Patsy Waller

Author’s note: Eugenia Price wrote of Rizpah as well as other women of the Bible in her book, God Sneaks to Women Today (Zondervan Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1964). 1 read of Rizpah in Eugenia Price’s book soon after its publication and was impressed with Rizpah, and I have maintained an interest in her through subsequent years.

A Suggestion

The first step in taking care of the business of funeral plans for yourself might be to write down some of the information that will be required at the time of your death—information needed for planning the funeral and burial and for completing the death certificate. Forms to record this information are available at the Funeral Home.

A few minutes now will lessen your family’s tasks at the time of your death and will also make your wishes known to them. You can keep this form available in your home, give it to a member or members of your family, or give it to us to keep in our confidential file at the Funeral Home. We already have many preplanning and pre-arrangement files.

Forms are available on request with absolutely no obligation.

Words, Words, Words.

Lord, no one would listen to me today.
I was worried about some things in my life—but no one seemed to notice

I was excited about the Spirit at work in my heart—but they only wanted to talk about last night’s baseball game.

I was still grieving over the loss of my mother—but he seemed to want to wrap it all up in a nice, neat package of "Well, you know, God loves you and all things work together for good and after all she’s much better off now."

I was depressed about my job—but she complained for the umpteenth time about how the kids were such terrors today.

I was struggling with a sin in my life that Ijust couldn’t seem to overcome—but he was terrified of being reminded of his own weakness and vulnerability, and so he rattled on about nothing in particular.

Is there anybody out there who will listen to me? 

Words, Words, Words.

A veritable avalanche of words all around us! Printed words. Books. Newspapers. Magazines. Spoken words. Parents. Spouses. Children. Teachers. Preachers. You. Me.

But is there anybody out there who will listen to me? 

Someone who will choke back the temptation to supply all the answers.
Someone who will take me seriously.
Someone who won’t be uncomfortable with moments of silence.
Someone who will listen for more than just words—who will listen to the feelings behind those words. Someone who will affirm me for who I am and for what I am becoming.
Someone who will take my side. Someone who will listen.. . with ears and hearts.

Lord, I need someone who will listen. Please.., send someone to listen.

—Author Unknown 

We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from February 13, 1997, through May 1, 1997.

Christopher ONeal Knighton / February 13, 1997

Mrs. Lida Floy Cole / February 14, 1997

Dr. Jean Kinard Jones / February 20, 1997

Mr. Hugh Buford Bryant / February 24, 1997

Mrs. Sybil Metts Hill / February 27, 1997

Mr. Jesse Roland Adams, Sr. / February 28, 1997

Mr. John Henry Danks / February 28, 1997

Mrs. Oleane Mills Horne / March 5, 1997

Dr. Edward Lee Gillenwater, Jr. / March 7, 1997

Mrs. Dottie C. Prince / March 8, 1997

Mrs. Maude Berryhill Fowler / March 11, 1997

Madison Elizabeth Vance / March 13, 1997

Mrs. Esther Redwine Sealy / March 18, 1997

Mr. Walter Wade Crouch / March 22, 1997

Judge S. Andrew Sciarrino / March 25, 1997

Mrs. Birdye Houston Moore / March 29, 1997

Mrs. Pauline Hickey Marchbanks / April 2, 1997

Mr. John Dale Landreth / April 3, 1997

Mrs. Lottie Starnes Threlkeld / April 3, 1997

Mrs. Ruth I. Grantham / April 10, 1997

Mr. Richard Lynn Bundren / April 12, 1997

Mrs. Winnie Jo Bowles Tatum / April 18, 1997

Mrs. Bertha Faust Ayles / April 18, 1997

Mrs. Era Butts Bynum / April 19, 1997

Mr. Motee Shannon Daniels / April 19, 1997

Dr. Harley Fremont Garrett / April 20, 1997

Mr. Leland Ray Hartley / April 26, 1997

Mr. Thomas Leander Moseley / April 27, 1997

Mr. John Thomas Roscoe / April 28, 1997

Joseph Alan Willard / May 1, 1997

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