Mom and Dad, today (April 9, 2011) is a great celebration of God’s faithfulness to our family… your 50th wedding anniversary. Thanks to Caroline and Cindy for organizing this special occasion and for all of you… our family and friends who have taken time to come and honor mom and dad.
Scottie and I certainly wish we could be there to celebrate. We’re not there in body but we’re certainly there in spirit. I can’t tell you how many times I have been refreshed and encouraged when I think back over my childhood and the blessing of a family who loved and cared for one another.
There have been many times in my own journey when I have been tempted to give up and throw in the towel but in those dark valleys one thing I have always done is to think back to a mom and dad who cared and sacrificed for me, and who refused to give up on me when I was rather unlovable. In those moments, I have always gained new resolve to go forward in faith not wanting to disappoint a mom and dad who have loved me so unreservedly!
Preachers are notorious for wanting to come up with ways to help people remember their points. Here’s a little acrostic that came to me today that makes me smile when I think about you both.
D – A DAD who made a difference in the lives of his children. Those of you who know our family well know that Dada hung the moon with all of his children and grandchildren. You loved us when we were at times unlovable. You believed in us, and gave us every opportunity to succeed in life. You were willing to discipline us, which I, for one, needed greatly. I’ll let the others speak for themselves. For many of the folks in my own congregation, my dad is a larger than life figure due to all the stories that I have told about him in sermon illustrations. Even now, my mind drifts back to a Saturday morning at the Bladenboro High School gymnasium when I was defenseless. Thank you dad for coming to my defense that day.
A – Always serving. Thank you for being a dad who was always serving somebody else… from caring for your own parents to all of your friends and family members who were and are mechanically challenged. During my first 18 years of life, I am not sure that we ever called a repairman to the house to fix anything. You’ve blessed so many by cutting down trees, building nativity sets, constructing piers, washing and waxing cars and the list goes on. You have modeled for us all …what it means to take the towel and humbly serve others.
D – Dedicated to doing the job right and safely… Dad’s mantra: “If the job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time.” I am sure that I got over fool’s hill because of two things: God’s amazing grace and the faint whisper of the voice of dad saying: “Safety first.” That was not instinctive for me for I am a big time risk-taker, but I knew it mattered to him. Now, what I am saying to my children? “Safety first.”
A – A faithful son. As their only son, dad loved and cared well for her own parents… Dewey and Lucinda Cain. He was especially close to his momma. There was never a momma bear like Lucinda Cain. A momma who would kill rattlesnakes with a hoe and who would fearlessly rescue kids stuck on an electric fence on the farm. She could also wear you out… always in love. Just Like her, dad has a beautiful balance of tough and tender. My dad, like his mother before, is a great story teller. When we get together as a family, we always ask Dada to tell the same four or five stories to all of us.
To summarize, loyal is a word that describes my dad. Loyal to his parents, his own family, his friends, his company (Dupont), and his church.
G – A Grandmomma who glories in her family. I can’t imagine a momma and grandmomma loving her children and grandchildren more than Giga. Thank you to all of you …Giga’s friends and family members… for putting up with her bragging about the exploits of her children and grandchildren. But what a treasure it is for us to have a momma who believes in and loves her children without reserve.
I – Imitator of Jesus – Giga, is truly a selfless and tireless servant. Thank you Giga for all the countless times you helped with homework and school projects, taught Sunday School, led children’s choirs, facilitated Vacation Bible Schools, served your friends on joyous occasions when their children were married, and provided practical assistance for families who had lost loved ones. Thank you especially for caring for Grandma Rosie in her sunset years. We are all grateful for that. In all these ways and many more, you have imitated Jesus. I, for one, know him better by watching you serve others!
G – Great teacher – How many kids owe their ability to read and write and do arithmetic to Betty Jo Cain. I am always amazed at the adults who seek you out now and thank you for your investments in them as 4th graders during their time at Bladenboro Elementary School. You always bred in your students the “can-do” attitude. Thank you for breeding it as well in your own children.
A – Always singing – I always like to say that our family was a benevolent dictatorship… emphasis on benevolent. Here’s what that means. Son, you’re a member of this family and you’re going to learn to sing and to play a musical instrument. Giga, how many children’s choirs have you led at church?
You were always singing and infected me with a love for it as well. My life is certainly the richer for it… “for music is a fair and glorious gift of God. Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry, and smile through their troubles in song. Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology, music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart . . . the devil flees before the sound of music as much as before the Word of God” (quote from Martin Luther).
With much love and great affection in my heart for you both… your son. Dick