Last week was very special. I was blessed to spend some turkey-time in the woods with my son, Joshua. No Tom – but good times together.
This is where we turkey-hunted, Mt. Nebo, WV. It’s close to where my uncle Ron lives. I first saw this view in 1971. Not much has changed – it’s as beautiful as always. The original owners are dead, yet this scene remains. And so it goes.
This was a new place for me. After the morning hunt, my dad, my uncle Ron, Joshua, and I visited a couple of sites in Clay County that I had yet to see. To the far upper left, near the blooming violet bush and tall, hunter-green cedar, is the cemetery where my grandpa Truman is buried – my dad’s dad. You need a 4X4 to get there.
I had always wondered what I would feel when I would finally look upon this marker. I’m his grandson. And his great-grandson stands here too. Now I know . . .
. . . I feel deeply grieved. Not simply that I didn’t know him. But rather, that he didn’t know Jesus. And still doesn’t. I’m silenced at the gravity of this. It’s been 68 years since 1947. That’s a long time. Eternity is even longer. “O Lord, teach me to number my days, that I may get a heart of wisdom” – applied Psalm 90:12. I’m so sorry grandpa. I love you.
This is another cemetery and this is my dad’s mom – Zelma. I miss her very much (” . . . watch you fers up to”). Born a Sears, married Burl Truman. Widowed with 5 children to raise. Remarried a White. Had two more. She loved Jesus. Still with him to this day – praise the Lord.
Zelma’s mother – my great grandma Sears, buried beside her daughter. I thank the Lord that this woman loved her Savior and showed her family the hard and narrow way that leads to eternal life.
Before we leave this cemetery, located in Clay, WV, just above Clay County High School that sits on the Elk River, we take a selfie.
At our final cemetery in Peach Orchard, Clay Co. This is my dad’s grandpa on his mother’s side. This was a first for me to be here. It’s heart-warming to know that the Lord saved him from the consequences of his sins. Not a stellar beginning . . . but then the grace of God broke through. A country preacher who loved his Lord. I have his sermon notes – they’re a treasure to me.
Just before we leave where Joseph Sears is buried, uncle Ron tells stories to my son about his ancestors. Surreal: The great great grandson of Joseph Sears hears from the grandson about how he can still hear and see his grandpa preach about Jesus. Priceless!
1. Time is short. Eternity is Forever. Don’t waste your life loving the gifts of God more than God himself in Christ.
2. When your children’s children, and even their children stand over your grave, what do you want them to know about you? Your life will speak from your grave after you’re gone, and what you want them to hear, is, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
3. Don’t sanitize the past, but also, don’t be all maudlin about it either. For the next generation, be clear and truthful, yet encouraging and hopeful all at the same time.
4. Life is a precious gift – enjoy it. Give thanks to the Lord – for his mercies endure forever.
5. If you can, visit your buried family members and gain a heart of wisdom. Better yet, take your children with you, so that they can get a sense of the brevity of their own life.
6. While you can, tell a family member that you love him/her. There will come a day when you can’t.
7. Finally, sing with me! To my family members who are not ready to die, I beg you, sing with me:
I thank you Lord for the day that you gave me in the mountains of Clay, WV.