I waver between optimism and pessimism. The down times come when I listen to vicious political ads and candidates who dodge questions and never give clear specifics about what they will do as elected officials. Even when some of the worst events bring on the doldrums, I have good things to rescue me. What makes me smile and shake my head in amazement are the choices that some folks have made that have enriched and blessed my life. For these folks, I’m thankful.
I’m a big fan of quartet music, and the best of the bunch is the Gaither Vocal Band. David Phelps is the first tenor who sings with passion and strength. Phelps isn’t an ordinary gospel singer. He had the opportunity to study music and become an opera tenor. However, he chose instead to pursue this career in gospel/Christian music, and by doing so, he reaches many more individuals who might otherwise never have heard his voice. His choice blesses all of us with a beautiful song and voice.
My mother earned a teaching certificate from teachers’ college in Asheville in the 1930’s. However, by the time she married and brought up three boys, it was no longer valid. For ten years she went to summer school to earn enough credits to turn her certificate into a bachelor’s degree in education. I’m lucky that she did. Her teaching wages were meager, but they helped our family survive after Daddy died when Jim and I were thirteen, and she provided large chunks of money to help pay for my own college education so that I wasn’t saddled with crushing debt after graduation. She also cleared a path that led her sons to the teaching profession.
Ministers have blessed me over the years. Bob Landry captured my attention when I first joined the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. One of the two persons I consider as my best friends, Doug Meister, shrugged off a job in construction and became a minister. He and I have spent hours discussing religion, softball, and family. I’m glad he was around.
Bill Menees influenced me more than any other minister. He worked for years at Dupont and came late to the ministry. “Brother Bill” opened my eyes to Christianity and the truths and demands it brings. His most memorable line was, “Jesus is not the answer. He’s the question.” Chew on that for a while. Bill also pushed me until I asked Amy Moore out on a date. A year later, he married us. The man is family.
I met Catherine Nance when she arrived at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church and wrote a feature on her for the paper. Instantly, I liked her. A couple of years later Amy and I tearfully left FCC on Fifth Avenue and began attending BRUMC. What we discovered is a minister who is a powerful speaker and who leaves her congregation agape and awed after each sermon. In addition, she presents a sincere interest and concern for others. Now, Catherine has reared two sons, and I feel fortunate that she chose to be a minister and to serve at a church where I can hear her messages.
I am most thankful for the choices that Amy Alice Moore made. She was a Cookevillian and a knockout. The girl could have any male she wanted. For some unknown reason, she chose me. I knew that she was “the one” after our first date and that I wanted to marry her after the second. Amy could have pursued her goal of becoming a pharmacist. Instead, she changed majors, married me, and moved to Knoxville. Because of those decisions, I was changed, blessed, and saved. Two children and a grandson are also thankful that she opted for this path, and they all acknowledge the feeling of being blessed.
Too often I become blue and fret over things. In fact, I can work myself into a gloom and doom lather. It’s when I take a breath and remember others whose choices have enriched my life that my mood changes. Thanks to you all.