The Lord Gave and the Lord Hath Taken Away

A thousand images of Daddy raced through my mind. He was a giant of a man. A prince, loving, caring. A hard worker, but never a slave to anything or anyone but the Lord and his family. 



He had no enemies. His presence filled a room. His laughter was contagious. His compassion, unsurpassed. The sting of death did not touch him, though it left us aching inside.


Without Ray, I would have crashed. He was holding me, praying for me. I watched my mother by the casket. She and my father had always been inseparable. Married over sixty years. She sat there smiling as hundreds of people filed through to pay their respects. Ray assisted with the funeral, and I played my mother's favorite song, Great is Thy Faithfulness. The service was a celebration of my father's life, and all his children took part. Great peace fell over me as I experienced the grace I had asked of the Lord two years before when I knew my father would soon be going home.


That evening after Dad's funeral, our families gathered back at our parents' home for a time together. We thought of everything possible that would make us laugh, for we had cried until there were no tears left. Mother was resting on her bed in the spare room, and all us kids and in-laws were in our parents' bedroom. The hospital bed was gone and their furniture back in place. The grandchildren were in the dining room playing board games around the table. Ray disappeared and I went looking for him. He was bending over my mother, praying that God would give her supernatural strength to go on just a little bit longer. More of that brooding love was in the room that night. I gently pulled the door to and leaned hard against the wall outside her room. Through the years God's presence had been overwhelming.


I couldn't help thinking of the towering magnolia trees at the old plantation house, and the two Daddy planted in the front yard of their retirement house shortly after they moved in over twenty-five years ago. Now they towered, their southern beauty a strong monument to his love for Mississippi. A few months before he died, we had him outside in the sun, and I asked him to pick some of the cones from the magnolias. They were loaded with red seeds. I could have done it myself, but I wanted them from Dad's hands. He leaned on his cane and pulled me a box full. I still have them. I'll always have them.


From House Not Made With Hands
Jane Bennett Gaddy, 2007



My dad: Charlie Patterson Bennett, Sr.
1910-1998

Comments

  1. That was a blessed time. Thank you for remembering Dad in this way. He did love the Magnolias and there blossoms. They are very beautiful right now. Dad also loved his Poplar tree in the back yard. It has a blossom, a pod,and then it will have a woodsy like prong thing on the end of it. Well, you will just have to come to Mississippi to see it or whereever they are grown!

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  2. Beautiful. I'm so glad you have the box of cones. Your dad was very loved I can tell, and he must have been a lovely person to have a lovely family and daughter as yourself.

    I remember my grandma's hospital bed there in their living room...now I have some of her sweet belongings and more than anything I think I may have her cooking hands, and a bit of her heart.


    I am so sorry I seem to miss your blog updates, I'm not sure if they are showing up on my dashboard, I guess I'll just have to make it my pleasure to come check on your blog more often. I will be coming back to enjoy and glean this week, what a treat for me! : )

    Bless you Jane! What a blessing you are. ~Amelia

    P.S. I replied back on my site to your sweet comment. : ) I'm not sure if blogspot notifies of that. (I'm a blogspot newby of sorts)

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  3. Amelia, what a joy always to hear from you. Let's just make it a point to do a quick response like you've done. I'm new to this, too, and I think we have to go and get the goodies, so I'll do that now. It keeps us "up"!!

    Sounds like we were cut from the same batch of cookie dough!! What a great God who loves us!
    Jane

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