Category Archives: Memorial

The Lingering Effect of Death’s Assault

In Memory of

Jacob Carlyle Davis

August 20, 1986 – December 28, 2010

Two years ago my family experienced one of the most devastating events we had ever faced. Two years ago my brother-in-law died in a car accident. The “facts” of what happened simply do not have the ability to communicate the emotions that I feel this morning as I remember him and how much I miss him. His mom and sister (my wife) feel a different kind of pain. Their knowledge of him was intimate, personal and began from before Jacob entered into the world. When I met him, Jacob didn’t even know who he wanted to be. He didn’t know that he was supposed to become anything. He was a chubby kid struggling to make sense of the inhumanity of middle schoolers. I knew Jacob for more than half of his life. I think that’s what hurts the most. There is no more time for us.

I know what I believe about death. As a follower of Jesus I know Jacob is with our Savior. I know. I know Jacob loved Jesus and never missed an opportunity to share this with those around him. I know he loved helping others get over what ailed them. He was good at that. But, he is no here to help me! He is gone and I miss him.

All of the cute things that we say sometimes really don’t help. “He lives on in our memories.” Yeah, well memories have a tendency to fade. “His love will carry you through.” OK, thanks but, I’d rather feel the warm embrace rather than the cold recollection of a time gone by.

I woke up this morning and saw some of the comments of those who loved Jacob as they remembered him. I was overwhelmed by the flood of emotion that I felt as I read them. I have heard that the depth of our pain is a reflection of the love we had/have for those now gone. I guess I loved/love him more than I realized. This is the realization I didn’t expect.

Two years, and I still feel the lingering effect of death’s assault on my heart. Jacob may not have been my flesh and blood, but we were family. I have come to realize that I still miss him and that will be OK. There is no expiration date on love. For this I am grateful.

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Remembering James Bailey Bodrey | “Too Short A Life”

James Bailey Bodrey

April 1, 1994 – October 20, 2012

I found out about James’ accident this morning as I was getting ready for a meeting. I was shocked by the news that his accident required him being taken to Macon. In the span of a couple of hours the news was not getting better. The sinking feeling in my stomach increased as word began to spread. By mid-afternoon, the worst outcome from this entire ordeal was realized. James had died, and part of all of the hearts of those of us who cared for him felt as if it had died too.

There are so many emotions that come over you when someone you know dies. But, those emotions are intensified and are even worse when that person is younger than you are. My first reaction to the news was anger. I was angry that another young man had died before the prime of his life. I was angry because it just did not seem fair that James died. I was angry at all the crazy things that would be said in an attempt to make the family “feel better.” There is no feeling better about this. This event, these moments are horrible and none of us wants to even think about them for another second!

But, as the day went on I became angry at myself. I realized that I made the mistake (once again) that I promised I would never make. I was angry because of all those moments and days that I had taken for granted. Life is far too short to allow ourselves to drift through it. I was upset about all of this, but then something else struck me. What struck me was all the young men and women at James’ alma mater, Crisp Academy, who knew and loved him. I thought of them and to them I direct these next words.

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Dear Crisp Academy Student,

I do not pretend to know how you are feeling. For many of you, the shock of this will take some time to think through. My prayer is that as you think about James and his life, that you would also take a look at your own life. And think about never taking any day for granted again.

How do you take a day for granted? When you complain about what you would rather be doing, instead of enjoying what you are doing (even when it’s homework or sitting in a classroom). When you are wondering about what somebody else said and then waste all that time worrying and plotting. You will never get that time back, and it was spent on something that will not make your life better. When you are so preoccupied with what is coming next in life that you will completely miss what is happening now. These are all ways that we take the gift of each day for granted.

Every time someone younger than me dies I am reminded that life is a precious gift. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Every morning is an opportunity to give thanks to God for opening our eyes. I want to remind you, in spite of your young age, to remember that each minute of life is given to us to enjoy. Don’t waste another day doing anything that you will regret.

My memories of James come from going to Crisp Academy every Wednesday and seeing him walk into the lunchroom with that goofy grin on his face and those bigger than life ears sticking out from the side of his head. I can hear him cutting up and talking trash about some rival team or the “other school in the county.” I remember him enjoying being who he was. He didn’t really try to pretend to be someone else. That is what I will remember.

Take care of yourself, strive to truly live everyday, enjoy every moment and may God bless you.

Victor Scott
Youth Pastor
Cordele First UMC

In Honor of Dr. Ralph Lightsey: “He Stirred the Gift within Me”

I found out this evening that the father of a friend died yesterday afternoon. It was not unexpected. He had been under hospice care.

The news of Dr. Ralph Lightsey’s passing brought two memories to my mind. The first was hearing him preach in the church I attended and would later serve as associate pastor. I have always been an “educated” listener of sermons and preachers. I love the process of preparing to preach. I enjoy the act of preaching. But, when I am not the one given this task, I am amazed and overjoyed to sit under good preaching. Now let me clarify what I mean by good preaching. Good preaching does not have to be loud, long, perfectly crafted sermons. Good preaching is when I as a listener am convinced that the preacher is so convinced, convicted and constrained by their love of Jesus that I can’t help but go where there are taking me. Dr. Ralph was a good preacher. I don’t remember the subject or text, but I remember that I wanted more of what he had as a servant of God. There was just a clarity to the way he preached. You had to work at misunderstanding him.

I have excerpted a couple of facts about Dr. Lightsey’s life from his obituary that are just mind blowing to me.

Dr. Ralph Lightsey, a minster of 72 years, age 93, died on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at the Ogeechee Area Hospice Inpatient Facility. Born in Appling County in 1918, he moved to Statesboro in 1965, where he lived until his death. … After serving as an active pastor for more than 52 years, he served as a supply speaker at more than 50 churches in Bulloch and surrounding counties. In addition, he was an educator. He served 16 years as Professor of Educational Research at Georgia Southern University and as an assistant to the Vice President. Upon his retirement, the Board of Regents conferred on him the title of Professor Emeritus of Educational Research. … Surviving are his wife of 67 years, [Mrs.] Wavine… [Source]

I share this with you because of the second memory that I have of Dr. Lightsey. It relates something that he did for me as I was leaving that church I was serving. He had on several occasions commended me on my preaching. I was a young man, new in ministry and to hear such kind words from a man I respected and admired was not easy. (I still have a hard time taking a compliment about my preaching!) As I was preparing to go, Dr. Lightsey gave me two gifts. One was a book on preaching and the second was a pen and pencil set that you have on your desk. I still have both. The pen and pencil set no longer works and the book is still in my ever growing library. I keep them because of who gave them to me. They are precious gifts reminders of his concern for me as I developed in ministry.

I never made the time to thank Dr. Lightsey for his words and prayers. I am sad that I will never get to say how much it meant to me for him to take time and offer words of wisdom and encouragement. I do find hope in the fact that we shared a mutual faith in our Savior Jesus and that I will see him again.

I am so thankful for the way that he stirred the gifts that were within me. I will never forget.