Winter 1999


No human effort is greater— and none more loving—than to say with sincerity, "I forgive you."

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. October 18, 1998, page 6A.

Forgiveness is nonjudgmental love and to know the full measure of forgiveness is wonderful. As Christians we are profoundly grateful that God gave His son to die to provide forgiveness for all those sins we confess to Him and for which we ask His forgiveness. He made the supreme sacrifice. He established by example that we must be forgiving. His word is filled with teachings of forgiveness. One of the first scriptures we teach our children is "Be ye kind one to another," which is completed by "tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

Perhaps we recite or hear the words of the Lord’s Prayer so often we fail to think about the plea that God forgive us as we forgive others. Further, Jesus plainly taught His disciples that the Father would not forgive them if they failed to forgive others. Both being forgiven and forgiving others have a powerful effect on our emotional health.

Often our pride deprives us of the cleansed feeling of having forgiven another. Personal misery and unhappiness may result from harboring an unforgiving spirit when we feel we have been wronged and refuse to forgive. Friendships are broken and families split because we do not accept and extend forgiveness. We cannot love our Lord and with the same heart refuse to forgive.

As quoted in Leaves of Grass, H. Thornton says: "How great is the contrast between that forgiveness to which we lay claim from God towards us, and our temper towards other! God, we expect, will forgive us great offenses—offenses many times repeated; and will forgive them freely, liberally, and from the heart. But we are offended at our neighbor, perhaps, for the merest trifles, and for an injury only once offered; and we are but half reconciled when we seem to forgive. Even an uncertain humor, an ambiguous word, or a suspected look, will inflame our anger; and hardly any persuasion will induce us for a long time to relent."

Some issues relating to forgiveness may be festering and hampering our lives. We may need to seek advice and help from another. Peter did this as recorded in Matthew 18:21 when he asked Jesus how often should he forgive his brother and Jesus told him seventy times seven—meaning endlessly.

We may be unaware that we have hurt another. We should ask in our prayers that He make known to us any hurt we have unknowingly brought another. We should put ourselves in the place of others and consider what we should wish to be done to us were we in their place. The longer a grievance lingers, the more deeply it may be harbored. Sadly there are those who cling to hurts, even nourishing them day by day and with time magnifying their extent.

The brother of the prodigal son could not join his elated father and others as they celebrated and rejoiced in his brother’s return. His father forgave his brother’s way-wardness, not only greeting him with open arms but lavishing gifts on him. The brother could not forgive his father and allowed his resentment to deprive him of much joy with his family.

Seeking forgiveness requires a sincere humble spirit. We have a beautiful picture of humbleness given when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He took upon Himself the role of a servant. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him three times, that Judas would betray Him to His enemies, yet His forgiving love allowed Him to kneel before these who were doubtless weary and gently wash their dusty, aching feet and soothingly dry them.

Later as Jesus hung dying upon the cross, He prayed that His Father would forgive those putting Him to death. Not only did He plead for their forgiveness, but further offered an excuse for them — "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23 : 34).

In the story of Stephen we have another example of forgiveness. Stephen’s prayer that his accusers be forgiven is heartrending. Pictures depicting Stephen in prayer as the stones are hurled upon him may break our hearts yet offer us a supreme example of sacred forgiveness.

Forgiveness extends to forgiving ourselves. All of us look back and remember things we regret. Some of these guilts must be faced and dealt with or, quoting Dr. Charles Allen in You Are Never Alone (Guideposts),"they become dark shadows over the remainder of our lives." Dr. Allen says further that "we should not dismiss the value of remorse as it can be a cleansing and good experience in our lives. Confession and repentance should follow. At times confession should be made to some other person — the person you wronged or a trusted counselor. At other times, confession should be made only to God. At times amends can be made; at other times nothing can be done to right a wrong. Unkind words cannot be erased and repeating them often hurts more than helps. Opportunities for service are gone. But forgiveness can eliminate bitter memories and self-hate. Sorrow over the past can be used to turn us toward the best we can do now and in the future."

Forgiving ourselves extends also into the intense emotions of grief. Dr. Allen says: "Grief is one of the most intense of all emotions. It has the power to create extreme shock. In such a condition no person is able to think clearly. One of the mistakes a person who is in griefshock makes is to go back and remember some misunderstanding with a loved one, to recall some angry words or criticism, to remember some things that were left undone. What we need to do is to remember that we lived together as imperfect human beings. Unhappy words, impatience, neglect, and the like were all part of the normal give-and-take of living. God forgives. All of us need forgiveness. Most importantly, we need to forgive ourselves. Let us take comfort in these words of the psalmist. "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared" (Psalms 130:3, 4).

Once we have extended forgiveness or received forgiveness healthily we move on to other matters. One writer suggests Paul could have spent his life looking back upon all the terrible wrongs lie had done. We know he did not but rather he started life over again in God’s will and way.

Forgiveness — receiving and extending it—unties us inside from pain, from hatred, from resentment. To attempt to pray from an unforgiving heart is a futile effort (Mark 11:25). The more we are forgiven the more we are willing to forgive. We know firsthand the grace of forgiveness.

As I have been giving special thought to the subject of forgiveness, the words of the hymn "Forgive" have haunted me—as the words to the old hymns often do.

I leave you with those words by B. B. McKinney:

Forgive the things I’ve said in haste, 0 Lord, today,
Ere evening shadows fold again the light away;
O take away the sting and hurt from hearts, I pray;
And heal the wounded spirits, Lord, in Thine own way!
Forgive me for the many things I’ve left undone —

Some soul now wandering, lost in sin, I might have won;
O may Thy Holy Spirit strive and win that erring one;
And in the lives of all, 0 Lord, Thy will be done!

Forgive me for the many things against Thy will
I’ve done this day,
O Lord, I pray, and love me still;
O may Thy Holy Spirit, Lord, come now and fill
My yielded life, my Lord, my God, with Thine own will!

Forgive me for the sake of Him who died for me,
Who gave Himself that I might live in heaven with Thee,
And lives today at Thy right hand to plead for me;
Forgive me for the sake of Him who died for me!



Not what happens to us but what happens in us is what counts. Our hearts go out to all those suffering from debilitating physical and/or mental conditions, and no way can we judge from afar how each one deals with their limitations. How inspiring it is, however, when we see those who make the best of their condition, without bitterness or despair. I have such a friend, and she has coped with increasing physical debilitation for many years. A portion of a letter she wrote to me a few years ago expresses so well her indomitable spirit and provides such inspiration that with her permission I share it with you:

don't feel bad about my condition, I don't. I didn't plan it, nor would I have but I am coping and I want to be like Paul— to be content in whatever state I’m in. I love this little poem — not copied—just remembered, and so things might be a little out of whack but sort of like:

I don’t ask to walk smooth paths or carry an easy load.

I just ask for strength and fortitude to climb a rock-strewn road.

I ask for courage to scale the highest peak alone and transform every stumbling block into a stepping stone.

I try to make that my motto. Stumbling blocks truly can be stepping stones if we use them as such.

Thanks, Anne, for the inspiration you offer with your words with your life!

—Patsy Waller


The choice of monuments available through Waller Funeral has been expanded. In addition to the Classic Finish brown monument previously available, new colors and more choices of designs can be selected. A large display of monument styles, colors, and finishes has been installed in the back hall of the Funeral Home.

These Matthews monuments all have a four-inch granite base on which a bronze plate is installed. Colors available are dark teal, Aztec, aquamarine, black cherry, hunter green, and light brown. A variety of borders that coordinate with geometric, dogwood, rose, pine, laurel, and deco designs are available. Previously, one letter style was available; now six styles are available including uppercase and lower-case lettering in the Custom finishes. Vase and non-vase styles are available. Personal tributes with a maximum of eight words per person can be installed on the Premium Finishes. Longer personal epitaphs and personal signatures can be included on the Custom Finishes.

An outstanding feature of the Custom Finishes is the sculpted portraits. You must see examples of these portraits to really appreciate what a wonderful memorial they provide.

Other information including prices is available with the display. We invite you to come in and look over this display and talk with us about options.

When we fail to forgive, we give a false impression of God.

—Source unknown

A friend’s tragedy taught me the importance of. . .
Just Being There


"What’s the most important thing you’ve done in your life?" The question was put to me during a presentation I gave to a group of lawyers.

The answer came to me in an instant. It’s not the one I gave, because the setting wasn’t right. As a lawyer in the entertainment industry, I knew the audience wanted to hear some anecdotes about my work with celebrities. But here’s the true answer, the one that leapt from the recesses of memory.

The most important thing I’ve ever done occurred on October 8, 1990. It was my mother’s 65th birthday, and I was back home in Haverhill, Mass., for a family celebration. I began the day playing tennis with a high-school friend I hadn’t seen for a while. Between points we talked about what had been happening in each other’s lives. He and his wife had just had a baby boy, who was keeping them up at night.

While we were playing, a car came screaming up the road toward the courts, its horn blaring. It was my friend’s father, who shouted to my buddy that his baby had stopped breathing and was being rushed to the hospital. In a flash my friend was in the car and gone, disappearing in a cloud of dust.

For a moment I just stood there, paralyzed. Then I tried to figure out what I should do. Follow my friend to the hospital? There was nothing I could accomplish there, I convinced myself. My friend’s son was in the care of doctors and nurses, and nothing I could do or say would affect the outcome. Be there for moral support? Well, maybe. But my friend and his wife both had large families, and I knew they’d be surrounded by relatives who would provide more than enough comfort and support, whatever happened. All I could do at the hospital, I decided, was get in the way. Also, I had planned a full day with my family, who were waiting for me to get home. So I decided to head back to my folks’ house and check in with my friend later.

As I started my rental car, I realized that my friend had left his truck and keys at the courts. I now faced another dilemma I couldn’t leave the keys in the truck. But if I locked the truck and took the keys, what would I do with them? I could leave them at his house, but with no paper on me to leave a note, how would he know I had done that? Reluctantly I decided to swing by the hospital and give him the keys.

When I arrived, I was directed to a room where my friend and his wife were waiting. As I had thought, the room was filled with family members silently watching my friend console his wife. I slipped in and stood by the door, trying to decide what to do next. Soon a doctor appeared. He approached my friend and his wife, and in a quiet voice told them that their son had died, the victim of sudden infant death syndrome.

For what seemed an eternity, the two held each other and cried, oblivious to the rest of us standing around in pained, stunned silence. After they had composed themselves, the doctor suggested they might want to spend a few moments with their son.

My friend and his wife stood up and walked stoically past their family. When they reached the door, my friend’s wife saw me standing in the coiner. She came over and hugged me and started to cry. My friend hugged me too, and said, "Thanks for being here."

For the rest of that morning, I sat in the emergency room of that hospital and watched my friend and his wife hold the body of their infant son, and say good-bye.

It’s the most important thing I have ever done.

The experience taught me three lessons. 

First: The most important thing I've ever done happened when I was completely helpless. None of the things I had learned in college, in three years of law school or in six years of legal practice were of any use in that situation. Something terrible was happening to people I cared about, and I was powerless to change the outcome. All I could do was stand by and watch it happen. And yet it was critical that I do just that—just be there when someone needed me.

Second: The most important thing I’ve ever done almost didn’t happen because of things I had learned in classrooms and professional life. Law school taught me how to take a set of facts, break them down and organize them—then evaluate the information dispassionately. These skills are critical for lawyers. When people come to us for help, they’re often stressed out and depend on a lawyer to think logically. But while learning to think, I almost forgot how to feel. Today I have no doubt that I should have leapt into my car without hesitation and followed my friend to the hospital.

Third: I was reminded that life can change in an instant. Intellectually we all know this— but we think the bad things, at least, will happen to someone else. So we make our plans and see the future stretching out in front of us as real as if it has already happened. But while looking to tomorrow, we may forget to notice all the today's slipping by. And w~ may forget that a job layoff, a debilitating illness, an encounter with a drunk driver or myriad other events can alter that future in the blink of an eye.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to regain perspective on your own life. From that one experience I learned to seek balance between work and living, to understand that the most satisfying career isn’t worth one missed vacation, one broken relationship or one holiday not spent with the family. And I learned that the most important thing in life isn’t the money you make, the status you attain or the honors you achieve. The most important thing in life is the Little League team you coach or the poem you write—or the time when you’re just somebody’s friend.

—Condensed from Princeton Alumni Weekly Reprinted from Reader's Digest with permission.


If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain. 

—Emily Dickinson





We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from November 8, 1998, through February 19,1999.

Mrs. Leonora Huffman Presley 11/8/98

Mr. Johnny Bell Dudley 11/11/98

Mrs. Yoshino Mishima Kawakami 11/12/98

Mrs. Elizabeth Cowie Lovelady 11/15/98

Mrs. Frances Marshall Browne 11/15/98

Mr. Riley Lusk "R. L." Brown 11/17/98

Mrs. Lena Mae White Watson 11/19/98

Mr. Robert Selby Downer 11/20/98

Mrs. Lodie Onsby Brown 11/23/98

Mr. John Ray Simmons, Sr. 11/23/98

Mrs. Mary Ann Ray 11/23/98

Mrs. Dura Singletary Ragland 11/25/98

Mrs. Irene Tatum Carothers 11/28/98

Mrs. Jamie Hickman Abernethy 12/3/98

Mr. Glen Dewitt McLarty 12/4/98

James Alexander Weathersby 12/4/98

Mr. Bedford Wayne "Buck" Zinn 12/4/98

Dr. Richard Edwin "Dick" Keye 12/14/98

Mrs. Alice Ray Martin CaIdwell 12/15/98

Mrs. Pearl Gilmer Gathright 12/16/98

Mrs. Eugenia Mason Rhodes 12/16/98

Mrs. Mary Frances "Sancee" Raley 12/22/98

Mr. Vader Preston Price 12/24/98

Mr. Lloyd Gardner Oliphant 12/26/98

Mr. Eldon Jesse Hoar 12/27/98

Mrs. Nellie Thweatt Jenkins 12/27/98

Mr. Charles Kenneth Maness 12/27/98

Mrs. Hilma Burt Howell 12/31/98

Mr. Lawrence V. "Sonny" Keel 1/2/99

Mr. Robert Lockbie Payne, Jr. 1/5/99

Mrs. Beulah Summers "Bea" Potts 1/5/99

Mr. William Michael "Mike" McGregor 1/6/99

Mrs. Ada Westmoreland King 1/6/99

Miss Jennie Dean Murphey 1/6/99

Mr. William P. Cox 1/11/99

Mr. Jimmy Mitchell Shields 1/13/99

Mr. Buford Allen Fields 1/15/99

Mrs. Clyde Little Nolan 1/24/99

Mr. James Smith "Jim" Stripling 1/25/99

Mr. Jimmy Hugh Miller 1/25/99

Mr. James Walton Nichols 1/27/99

Mr. Carl E. Pruett 1/28/99

Mrs. Bertie Sullivan Langston 2/2/99

Mrs. Lorraine Galloway 2/3/99

Mrs. Stacye W. Knight 2/4/99

Mr. J. C. Smith 2/12/99

Mr. Albert W. "Bill" Crenshaw 2/13/99

Mr. Alois Leo "Al" Orf 2/13/99

Mr. Donald Lawrence Gerred 2/13/99

Mrs. Avaline Marie Raimey Foley 2/14/99

Mrs. Jennie Ruth Perkins Turpin 2/19/99

Years after her experience in a Nazi Germany concentration camp, Carrie ten Boom found herself standing face to face with one of the most cruel and heartless German guards she had ever met in the camps. This man had humiliated and degraded both her and her sister, jeering at them and visually "raping" them as they stood in the delousing shower.

Now he stood before her with an outstretched hand, asking, ‘Will you forgive me?’ Carrie said, ‘I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, ‘Jesus, help me!’ Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible thing. The current started at my shoulder, and raced down my arm and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ‘I forgive you, brother,’ I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that moment!"

When we forgive we set a prisoner free—ourselves!

—from God’s Little Devotional Book for Moms, page 157 with permission from Honor Books Inc.

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