Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pretty Paper

This was written by my mother just right before Christmas. Two days till Christmas. It will be my 1st without my husband, James. I feel like crying. But I know I have to be strong for our grandchildren. For Jim asked me a few days before he lost his voice to go home and be strong like I always had been. For he loved our grandchildren so much. They had brought him such happiness in life. And he was going on. The kids needed me to help them in life he believed. He didn't hate to die for he had lived a good life. But it was hard on all of us. We would see him again someday. We had been together so many years but now he was depending on me to carry on. And he loved me with all his heart.
Today was one of my test without him. I was decorating the Christmas tree when I found an ornament he had bought back in 1996. It had Jim and Louise on it and two doves. My brother had asked him to go dove hunting with him one year. And he told him he would not shoot a dove. For God had used them to find dry land for Noah. I thought back to the time of him saying that to my brother. He had a gentle heart for a strong man. I celebrate this as Jesus's birthday and I know he is with him. For he doesn't hurt anymore. In my heart he is always with me as we dance beneath the mistletoe to "Pretty Paper" one last time.
Louise Gargus
I remember well the Christmas time as the record player would play. That song would play as they danced across the living room and they seemed so happy looking at each other with all the love in the world. Them being so close made my brother and I feel that nothing in the world could ever go wrong. She completed him in time when he needed it most. These are the memories that come back to me with the warmth of a family on Christmas Eve.

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Path

In my dream I had before my father died, I was standing on a road that wound around a mountain. As I was standing there I glanced up at the top of the mountain. The summit was flat allowing the placement of a large structure of some sort. It was enshrouded in darkness so as to hide it from view. But, suddenly, it came in view for all to see on this summit. Everyone in the world could now see it. Now, as I beheld this place I realized it was a church. A magnificent church it was. It was built on such a grandiose scale for all to behold and admire. The workers of this structure worked day and night. It dwarfed any cathedral in Europe by any means. The work I felt would never be completed on this building. They were working so feverishly in a pitch of ferocity to complete a project that would never be done. The work was not on God's Kingdom but on the materialism of impressing others with their riches. Just as the Israelites did with the temple I was told by a voice that came from nowhere. I heard voices in the shadows behind the workers say,"As long as they are building this structure, they will be no bother to us."

I was so puzzled what I was doing here. "What am I suppose to be here for?"I questioned. I observed in front of this path a great chasm separating the path into. Down below lay nothing but darkness. There was one way across this chasm and one way only. In front lay this bridge that sat on two giant rocks. As I looked to my right, I seen someone jumping in and out of the shadows of that great chasm. I seen that it was some female. As I drew closer to this woman I caught a glimpse of the face. To my shock it was my wife. "What are you doing?" I inquired but she did not answer me. Voices came from behind wondering what am I going to do next. "I am going across this here bridge to find an answer to this riddle," was my reply. "Come with me," I insisted to the voices. As they stepped into the light I saw a man and a woman. They were recognizable to me but unlike I had ever seen them. It was my son and daughter standing there staring back with a look of question. They were grown probably mid-20s. And behind them stood thousands of black figures with no faces. "Who are they?" I insisted upon knowing. "They are the generations of your descendants watching you," my children told me. There I was put on the spot wondering what to do next. "Well, then, follow me across," I shouted with joy. "NO!!!," they all shouted with one voice. I had run halfway across the bridge before I could even get the words out of my mouth. Their voices shook me to the core. Like untold stories yet to be told shook me from the future. "But why?!" I shouted back in anger. Their tone then changed to one of question. "We like it here. We are comfortable here," was their answer back. "How can you mean that?" I said with much bewilderment. "Do you know what is on the other side of that bridge?" they demanded to know. My eyes widened and my face lost all expression. I stood there for what seemed like hours. I turned to try to peer to the other side. Yet, for all my efforts these eyes, alas, could see nothing. I opened my mouth to speak but all that came out was a weak,"No, I do not." In that moment I never felt so alone. As if my childhood had come back to haunt me. I stood like I did so many times on that playground defeated like the breath had been knocked out of me. No matter how many fights I fought against those bullies and won or lost. I kept standing up. But behind every corner of my life there was one more bully to fight. That wears on a man afterwhile. The constant barrage of battle in life, mind, and soul. I stood there in that moment with my whole life being replayed to me. I looked back at them knowing we couldn't go back up that hill. "Now what?" was my last thought as I awoken. "We will see," was the response back from the main voice I heard.

I inquired about this dream to my father before his death. He said, "God would reveal the meaning of this to me in due time." God reveals things with many layers and find new things each time you look back. My drive for this site was more than trying to honor my father's memory but the understanding of that dream. The answer lies within me. But I have to understand the past of who I am and what I am to become. The word Legacy carries so much more weight after you stare down the ages to come.

As I look forward to a new year I ponder these things in my heart continuously searching the depths of my soul.

"If any man lack wisdom, let him ask God."

James 1:5
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My Sweet Sister, It Was All For Naught

Georgie Ann Gargus was my Aunt and my Dad's sister, and she was one of the prettiest women he had ever known.
She was not only lovely but had a kind heart.
My Dad thought alot of her but she thought a better life lay ahead for her out there.
The farm was not good enough for her.
She longed for the big city and a life of luxury and ease.
The finer things in life she thought she deserved.
It impaired her judgement of men's character is so many times the case.
She could have any man she wanted but chose one based on wealth.
Monetary value held more value than character of heart.
So she chose her mate and left her old life behind never to look back.
Never to keep in contact with old family and friends that reminded her of her old life.
So she wed him and he took her away from it all. But all false faces are soon revealed.
He gave her the lavish lifestyle she longed for.
But her beauty was her Achille's heel on which her sense of self worth was based upon.
His jealousy of other men drove him crazy.
The alcohol to forget their looks.
Though no impropriety she did.
The onlookers as they went about their ways was more than he could handle.
So in a jealous rage one night he struck her on the head leading to her death, eventually.
She lied about the event blaming it on a fall.
So wanting to hold on to the life, she had built for herself that she lied to her family when they visited her.
A princess she was and no more pauper was she.
But, oh, what a price to be.
She covered it up until her life it did take.
Leaving her family with heartbreak in its wake.
Vanity caused this beauty to refuse to see the jealousy beast.
May her soul lie at rest.
For beauty lies in the heart and riches in the things not of this world.
We all become blinded by the things of this life.
So when you read don't judge her to hard, for you see this story has been replayed so many different times on different stages.
The characters are different but the plot is still the same.
As Solomon said:"Then I looked on all the works my hand had wrought,...and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 2:11
Lance Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fathers Aren't Suppose To Outlive Their Children

He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their
Psalm 102:17
This is what my mother wrote about Larry. He was my dad's youngest son by his ex-wife Edna. He felt he was never the same after the divorce. It seemed to forever affect him. She met him after she started dating his dad. He was so lost after the divorce he resorted to substance abuse to forget about things. He just wanted someone to love him as he tried find his way in life. He was a very talented artist with a God given gift. But his life was sad and tragic in how it ended. He was searching in life for something. I don't know if he ever found it. I pray he did. He died of a drug overdose. Was it suicide? We don't know. But Dad mourned for him for a long time. He blamed himself and I think he always did. He wished he had done something more for him.
This is what my mother wrote about her memory of him.

In memory of Larry Gargus
A little boy of 13 years of age.

I met, when I met his Dad.

Who in 69 became my husband.

A son of 13 I had then.

A little boy so lost and hurt.

Who I couldn't seem to understand.

But he and I had some great times of love and joy together.

Sharing our love and trying to find each other and understand each other.

A fine boy he was.

Soon we had a brother for him.

A picture of his brother he drew as I set and watched him with a happy smile upon his face.

But soon Larry grew into manhood.And soon was wandering on life's busy street.

But treasured still was the life we had shared.

Oh, how I wish I could again hear his cries of delight on Christmas when he opened his gift of love from his Dad and I.

For a loving heart never forgets the smile of a young boy's face.

Drawn by Larry Gargus, my half- brother. He drew this when Jimmy, my brother, was 3 months old and Larry was 13. My mother laid in bed and held Jimmy while Larry drew his picture.

This picture was drew by Larry of my Dad and Mom's wedding. She was like a second mother to him.

This is a letter my Father wrote about his youngest son by his previous marriage, Larry. Though infidelity was involved on her part and it tore a family apart, the ramifications of this divorce was felt through all my half sisters and half brothers to this day. But Larry took it the hardest. In hurt his ex-wife told my dad he wasn't his and in some way he believed it. He still treated him a little different than the others after that. He was so confused that one night he stood crying wanting his Dad to understand him. Dad knew he was his even in spite of the hurtful words Edna said. Divorce has many causalities but children suffer the most. My mother tried to be his friend but she was just a stepmom he said. All he wanted was a family. Maybe the one he lost. At times my dad would accidently call me Larry instead of Lance for we favored some I was told. He died when I was young and never got to know him very well. But none the less he was my brother and my blood. The pain of not getting to know him is as real as my Father's was the night he found out the news of his death. Here is what Dad wrote in his own words...

Larry in spite of his terrible problems loved me to the end and I did that boy. I kept thinking he would be okay. He was a miserable, wonderful, honest young man with his family life blown apart and he never recovered from it. I loved him dearly.

Dad with Larry right before his divorce from Edna. He was the youngest of 5 kids.

He took very few pictures when he got older. He mostly went off searching for something ever elusive to him to fill a void. The alcohol and drugs finally did him in the end. He was living with his mother. She found him lying on the couch at her house. He had convulsed and his liver had exploded trying to process all that he had consumed. He was only 26.

What we all do affects all those around us. No man is an island, they say. What you or I do could affect generations of people, especially those whom we love. A stray word can even hit harder than any fist. But one spoken in kindness to a receptive heart may make all the difference. Seach your own soul and figure out where you stand with those whom you love.

He planned on attending Art School at the University of Memphis. If attended, the City of Memphis promised a job as an art designer of their billboards. But the past haunted him so much that he tried to silence it anyway he could.
His handprint he made at about the same age I was when he died. I was 9 when he died.

The last picture he had made. It was with his neice. She was just a baby. He never had one of his own.

Him with his mother, Edna.

by Lance Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

My Father's Journal

What did you enjoy doing most as a child?
Did you prefer doing it alone or with someone else?
Reading,listening to my mother sing. Climbing trees, swinging on grape vines, playing hide and go seek, blind man bluff, kick the can, hide and go seek, ginn, visiting my relatives with my mom and dad, going to church with mother, listening to stories of The Church Elders experiences in their missionary journeys, wading water, mud, swimming, going fishing with my dad, watching ants build hills, birds nesting, baby birds learning to fly, listening to the mocking birds, listening to the whippoor whill, walking barefoot on dusty roads, watching dust squirt up between my toes, listening to older folks tell of haunted places, learning to play baseball, watching my dad and older brother drive and copying them.
There was times I liked to be alone but generally I liked to be with someone or a group.Who gave you your name and why? Did you have a nickname? How did you get it?My mother gave me my name, after her father, James Caldwell, and for my father's father Henry Alvin Gargus.
Yes, "Freckles," was my nickname. I had a million freckles until I was 17 years old. Later, instead of James, or Jim my name, or nickname become "Jimmy" and it has stuck with me, as many still, after all these years refer to me, as Jimmy.
Describe your childhood home. What was your favorite room?
My childhood home, as I recall, was happy, and like most boys at that age and time, in the 20's, 30's was carefree, and I had no idea we were poor people, until years later when someone informed us of this strange fact. On the farm, til about 8 then in town. There was 9 children to contend with and enjoy, or be real miserable, all depending upon the older children, who could make your day or break it. Were you baptized or dedicated as an infant? If so, where and by whom?
Baptized at 8 years old by immersion by Bro. Thomas Newton a travelling Elder in the church.
Bro. Newton long since passed on.
Baptism is only for responsible youth or adults, who can and will make a mature, informed decision to follow the way of Christ.

Did you attend church as a young boy? What are your earliest memories of church?
With my mother and older children going to prayer meeting. Going by farm wagon or model "A" Ford, cold feet and hands, muddy roads.

Where did your father go to work everyday and what did he do? Did his work interest you?
Farmer mostly, he did some work for the city of Paris, Tn in sewer service. No, his work didn't interest me at all. He was a moody person and we children were afraid of him, most of the time.

Did your mother have a job or did she work at home?
My mother mother was a full-time homemaker and a part-time school teacher. A humorous lady with a serious mission in life, to honestly sincerely be a good mother, wife, and neighbor.
Yes, she worked at home with 9 children to attend-to, 3 boys, 6 girls, and another son. Whose birth contributed to her death, by a hemophiliac condition, the bleeding couldn't be stopped. She was a devout church attender and believer by deeds and conduct.

What was your favorite sport or outdoor activity? Why was this your favorite?
The schools I attended had no sports program. We played cow pasture ball growing up, a home made twine ball and a hewn out homemade bat. Did you pray as a young boy? Who taught you to pray?
I think I prayed. Later my mother taught me by example. Did the pastor or visiting missionary ever eat dinner at your house? Did they have an impact on your life?
Pastors and traveling missionaries were a very influential part of my younger years, especially between age 7-13. I was baptized at age 8 in 1928 by a traveling Elder Thomas Newton, who (as did none of the ministry serve for pay) in all their travels, all expenses were born by the men themselves. They gathered corn, picked cotton, bottomed chairs, they plowed and hoed or whatever needed to be done to earn their travel and keep. They sent about 2/3 of their earnings home to their families if they had one. They could not, indeed would not sell their ministry; they served out of love, as indeed they do to this day. In all humility, I do the same. And have never suffered for it, but rather received many wonderful blessings, guidance, and healing.

Did you ever feel that God had a special calling on your life?
As a young ex-soldier WW2 1946, I was told by one who loved me that the Heavenly Father wished to use me in a special way, but I needed to clean up my life and prepare for the call to ministry.
This I proceeded to do, with much confusion and uncertainty enroute.
I served as a teacher for 4 years, with much joy at seeing many people responded to my interest in their lives, homes, prayer life, and church attendance. As I served I also was under great temptation the last 3 years and even tho, I did not fully succumb to these enticements, I suffered loss and so did those of my home and the isolated members to who I was sent.
I moved to Memphis from Paris, Tn in the winter of 1953-54 and was ordained as a priest in 1955 and was ordained an elder in 1957.

Describe the most memorable time of life.
I served as Elder, 57-1968, when I decided to turn in my priesthood license. (This after my wife left me for someone else in 1966.) I have no excuses to offer even tho I suffered, as did my children, Ronald James, (Elbert James) now Joseph, Bonita Marie, Leah Kay, and Larry Alan. We were very active in the church. I was a pastor at two locations, chaplain at the high school, and elementary school, Boy Scout Leader, and Cub Scout Leader. My wife, Edna, was P.T.A. President and parliamentarian; she was also secretary to the zoo director, secretary to church district pres.,Thomas S. Gough; and were told the neighbors looked to us as a model family and neighbors.
After she left me and the divorce I was too distraught and weak to resist the temptation to get even, rebel, and do harm to my family, friends, and myself.
The road back was formidable, and didn't want to give up the (don't care life). But the call of the church was too strong and now I am serving to the best of my ability.

How far did you have to travel to attend school and how did you get there?
School bus or walk. We were not furnished cars. They were then considered a luxury or necessity depending upon the existing circumstances. Mileage varied from 1/2 mile to several miles. How did you come to write in this journal?Lance, my son, gave me this journal, and if I don't' write in it, he'll fuss at me. June has been a rewarding month so far. I've gone back to work. Working at Tri-State Protection Agency as a security guard since I retired.What about your church? My church has been so good to me and so good for me. Tho, I drive 12 miles, roundtrip, I really feel great about it. The people that are such fine Christians, no pretense, just good honest people; clean living and really appreciate my ministry.What word best describes your childhood?
Uncertain, at times. My childhood was like it was due to a problem in the home. My mother was settled, calm, and caring. My father was almost always abusive, belittling, name calling, profanity, no showing of affection, or care,always requiring the utmost effort in whatever I did-never satisfied, and no compliments. He made me labor beyond my physical ability and then demanded more, or more abuse. I came to believe I was no good or retarded, as he accused. I loved him in spite of this. He was my father. He did change after he became 55 or so. He died of cirrhosis of the liver. A very painful demise. But he did die a very changed man. Thank God!What advice about life do you want others to remember?
Do not allow others to tell you how you feel. You decide what your life should be like without being cynical. You are a special person, no one is, or ever will be like you. Trust in the Lord- put your hand in His, do His will, that is all that's necessary. Do you have a special message for one of your children?
Yes, my eldest son, Ronald James Gargus, born October 16,1946. Fine son, very intelligent, gifted "A" student, athlete, and lettered in 5 sports. Had call to priesthood, but was cancelled by a questionable Elder, who disagreed with the call. He was very disillusioned after that, and more so when our prayers for Bonita's daughter wasn't answered as he thought they should be. And she passed away at 8 months of age. He is of fine character but at times disillusioned.This journal was presented to me by my son, Lance Lee Gargus, on 6-13-98.

James Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Last Breath He Breathed Out

Let every thing that have breath praise the LORD, Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 150:6

Dad was wanting to go home so bad. He was tired, so tired. It had been a long hard struggle that month for him. His breathing had become so labored. The oxygen he received was at ever increasing levels. He felt himself smothering, yet worked to communicate to us.

Every breath we have comes from God and it returns to Him who gave it. The breath of life is a gift like no other. We take for granite everyday. Only faced with our end do we realize that. But even with every breath a challenge, he still praised God with each one. Amazing to me. Not blaming God for his condition or wishing for a sudden healing, but enjoying every small moment. This is how we should live. Yet, we all get caught up in the problems of the here and now.

The last few days he kept wondering was it daylight or night outside. Mainly if the sun was setting or rising. This puzzled me and as I pondered on this for awhile the time came when his condition worsened. He was sent to the comfort room. In the room he was mildly sedated. For he was coughing up pieces of his lungs. He was finally resting. The last two hours I fell asleep watching every breath he took. It was steady now with no struggle.

My sister was the only one awake those last two hours. We had all fallen asleep around him. She held his hand and cried. Kay looked at her father as he took each breath in and out. As his chest rose and receded with each inhale and exhale. She looked up from where she had been laying her head on the bed crying. She had felt some presence bring it to her attention to look. She saw him take one deep breath in like you would before you would go under water to swim. Then after what was left of his lungs was filled he let it go with one long breath. No fighting just a peaceful release. More like a sigh of relief thanking God it is done. And with the last breath he was released from the prison of that frail body.

The sun that had been setting when he was brought to the comfort room was now rising in the sky. It's rays of light filled the room. She awoken us to the news that he was gone. As we wept so despairingly and held each other I noticed something. The light outside his room. His room was at the end of the hall you see. As my eyes were filled with the light as the sun rose that Sunday morning, it was the time of day for him to be getting up to prepare to go to church. For now the church he now dwelled in was the Holy Temple with our eternal God. We all watched this event. All I could say was,"This is a good day. For he no longer hurts or suffer. He won't be needing this to breath anymore ." I took the oxygen mask that had frozen to his face and removed it. I threw it in the garbage with a sense that the breath he was breathing now must be so good. Like your first breath as a baby when the air fills your lungs for the first time. No longer would he have to depend on man for his breath. For God would return that same breath that he breathed out of his body back into a resurrected body. That will be like pure light.

And so I press on. Not sure where this road is carrying me. But I pray I never take my breath of life for granite. That very same breath which had left was the same one I had felt rushed into my little ones at the moment of their births. At birth and death we all have a first and a last. What matters is what do we do inbetween those breaths. I am not quite sure when my last will come but may I, Lord Jesus, breath my last with your name on my lips. As I wait to exhale my last breath.
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

The Light Around Him

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
Proverbs 27:23

As he gave his last sermon he seemed to be unsteady on his feet. His voice was weak sounding at first. He looked as though all his strength was being used to keep him going. Suddenly, a light shone around him that I did not see. But my wife and Bro. Fate's wife, Diane, saw a light that radiated from him. I couldn't see it but I noticed a difference in his look.

His face seemed to be filled with hope. His voice roared like a lion, yet, he weaped bitterly for the souls listening to him. I was taping it thinking nothing at first but wondering where his new found strength was coming from. He saw straight through everyone there to the heart. He also foresaw a time of trouble that made his heart mourn for what we were to endure. He spoke like he was trying to say everything on his mind with a most incredible sense of urgency. Like if he didn't say it all that he would expire at any moment. He pleaded with everyone to please take this to there core. He seemed to be talking to a bigger audience than we could see.

The words were powerful, heartfelt, and sincere. I had never seen him quite this driven before. He would wipe away a tear as another one would take its place. He didn't speak as a man that needed oxygen to do most activities. But as a bullhorn or mouthpiece for God. A voice crying out in the wilderness. A sane man in an insane world trying to reason with the unreasonable. A man who saw the ending as his end drew closer, and pleaded with the world to change their ways. But, alas, his words fell to some with deaf ears. Who enjoyed the darkness instead of the light. When he had exhausted all his reserves he collapsed in the seat behind the podium. I thought I was going to have to help him, but he is a proud man who wants to lean on God not man. Man's strength is fleeting. For God would carry him through to the end.

As he sat there he told the elders that he had seen a light around each of them. A messenger or angel behind each one of them was touching them. Empowering them if they would accept it. But so few take the gift when offered or even recognize it when presented. One messenger spoke to him to tell him about one of the elders. He would have a long ministry was the messenge. Elder Tandy looked and nodded in agreement that he would watch and check in on the flock on his returns to this area. For you see my dad worried about his church, his family, and this world. He poured his heart and soul into his ministry and never expected anything in return. No monetary compensation, no prestige, and often many times no praise. He wanted his Lord to receive all the credit. I, on the other hand, as I soul search find I have a very long way to go and alot to learn from my Heavenly Father and my earthly father.
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

The lights were dim

The lights were dim,

The voices were soft and hushed

Life always fragile, was quietly ebbing away,

The body once so strong and sturdy,

Now, so frail and weak and wan,

Life had been a wonderful voyage

Across the oceans of time,

So many discoveries to enliven the mind

each one a new burst of adrenalin to

fuel the travel and time to

the next novel of joy

When the mind and body was fueled by

youthful energy and anticipation, eagerness

spawned experimentation unlimited,

unchecked by the barriers of age or inhibitions.

Time, a prime mover of childhood, of youth, of all stages of life,

of times moving too swiftly to grasp,

too fleeting to analyze its toll;

if indeed the zeal of living allowed this impediment of its flow.

We hurry on, to what? To where?

Ah! To new horizons, somewhere beyond the sunset,

beyond imagination or reality;

some feeling of the urgency to-move to meditate, to explore,

to see and feel new frontiers,

frontiers that had no shape of thought,

just of being swept along on wings of flowing exhilaration,

subtle but commanding.


James Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Cross

My daughter went to the gift store to buy a small cross for my dad. I asked,"Why?". "To remind him of Jesus everytime he looks at it," she said. He held that cross in his hand as long as he could. It had special meaning that his tiny grandchild had the pure love in her heart to think of something so simple. But the love behind that gift could stop a mighty army. Cause you see like all man made things they come to an end. But that innocent love will last forever. That small act is recorded in heaven as one of the greatest feats. Cause with love there is no fear.
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Dear loved ones,

This letter was wrote when my Dad was trying to help his brother for a couple months with his car business. He was retired at the time. And had the chance to get close to his brother that couple of months. He still missed us alot though. Myrtle was my grandmother and Lee was my grandfather on my mom's side in the letter. Ron and Joe are my older brothers. John Gresham is my cousin. I found this letter not to long after Thanksgiving. There is some things in it that really spoke to our hearts. This time of year, when this post was written, is especially hard on us. But it the most difficult on my mother. Pray for her lonesome heart. Here is the letter:

Oct 24 1987
10:15 am

Dear loved ones,

guess what, I got three letters from home this week?! How about that? Guess I really rate, huh?

I was really happy to get them and that all of you were okay. Hope and pray Myrtle is still improving. I've been fine; a little tired, with working 6 days a week, and a whole lot home sick. Sure wish I could see all of you.

Jimmy I'm sorry about your not doing so good in your grades. Do the best you can, I know you will, I'm really depending upon you as the man of the house, but I still expect you to be a boy and have fun like a boy should. Don't worry too much about girlfriends now, they will come in due time. I didn't marry till I was 25. In fact I didn't have a girlfriend until I was 20. So just hang in there, your life is all ahead of you son and I love you and believe in you O.K.?

Lance, be careful, there's plenty of girls out there for you and Jimmy, don't be too anxious, you'll be okay. Your brother, Joe, got his heartbroken 10 times before he was 16 so be careful. I love you, take care of mother and Jim and yourself. Okay? Hope you boys are enjoying the bit of money I sent.

Hope Myrtle is home by now and doing well. How is Lee doing? I sure miss you all. Hope to see you on the 18th of Nov. and come back on the 22.

John Grisham called Ron and Edna said he was in Memphis looking for work.

Honey I sure miss you and enjoy your letters. They sure are welcome, especially when I am so lonesome for you.

I haven't paid much on Jimmy's car yet and have some more work to do on it, but it is nice and a good car, he will be proud of it. I'm trying to get his car in good running condition. Have to let him drive alot and get insurance. It is a big long car, a LTD 2 baby blue Ford 2 door pretty. Tell Lance to be good and I will try to locate him a car later.

Well honey I will go please write when you can and remember I love you and miss you. Will try to be home for Thanksgiving and come back following Sunday.

Tell all hello for me. Be careful of fire. Take care of yourself and my boys.

All my love Darling and boys,


Daddy Jim and Hubby Jim
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Children In Heaven

My daughter had another vision or dream the other night while sleeping. This time she saw children playing in a fantastic place with lots of bright fantastic colors coming from the garden. The sun or Son in the sky was shaped like a diamond. It was golden and lavendar in color. But it was not hot. You could touch it and it didn't burn you. She said it felt Holy. I asked what did she mean by Holy. Holy felt like the wind being soft and tender with love and comfortable all around you. This is how my 7 year old described it.
My dad felt she was a special little girl blessed by God. She said she wanted to see him cause God told her heaven is good. She got to see this glimpse I believe in her dream.
In her dream all the children were playing children's games. They were in a wonderful meadow with flowers, plants and trees that never died. They always stayed lovely with a little bit of golden light around them. God didn't let the children get sick or hurt there. Her Papaw's spirit watched over her there next to the sun or Son. He was happy. She got to climb stairs to a beach with all this water to swim in. And when you swam in this crystal clear water you put off what looked like gold on your hands and feet. You could drink the water, too. People would get 220 gallons of it she said to share. They would dip their cups in it to drink. The cups were grey with gold and lavendar on it. They drank the water with every meal. That included breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it tasted very good she said. The best thing was a mommy there she said what sounds like was reunited with her baby.
The plants in the garden included some very unusual ones that stood out. They seemed to have some special meaning to her. Two bushes had apples on them. Four had white lillies. And last two had red roses on them. I am not sure of the meaning of these and their significance.
God told his disciples not to stop the little children from coming unto Him. For he said such is the Kingdom of Heaven. To have trusting faith like a little child. This is how God wants us to be. Trusting in the unseen. As long as we are filled with doubt , we will be losing out on God's plan for our lives. My daughter is a pure spirit and seems to be able hear God when he speaks. I, on the other hand, have become callused and hardened by this life for I don't hear like I should. Sometimes I guess if I would just let my guard down. And walk on faith I could hear Him talking to me. I asked her was it just a dream or real. She said, "Oh, Yes, it was very real." Maybe just maybe, we as adults could hear what our little ones already know to be true.
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven


We all have memories I'm sure of going to see our grandmothers on Thanksgiving or Christmas. The road trip to see her and the anticipation of all those wonderful, smelling treats and goodies. We can't wait to see that smile and the warm arms to hug us. The kiss on the cheek and the look of kindness and love. The warm house after the long cold trip there. Trying to help her cook or do some small task she always let us do to make us feel special. This is how I felt. Always welcome and like I was going to my own family's home. I wasn't in the way I was a part of the family. And that is how it was.

Grandmothers are like that. Though I have no memory of my great grandmother I can see her through my dad's eyes in how he described her. Here is how he remembered her in his own words:


I well remember my maternal grandmother,

Emeline Johnson Caldwell.

Why and how, do I remember her?

I recall she was a rather heavy set lady, with smiling eyes, wore long ankle length dresses,

long dark hair that hung in waves, let down it reached the floor.

Now those same eyes could show displeasure, if her grandson disobeyed.

She lived in a green bungalow house-

She wanted me to live with her

She showed me untiring kindness and affection

She baked me lots of pies, apple, peach, pumpkin and berry, and cherry pies.

She doctored my bruised feet or hands-

She walked me to church, with fresh starched shirt and pants, let me wear my grandpa's bow tie

She told me about Christ, so vividly, I almost could see him.

She let me whittle with grandpa's pearl handle knife.

She tucked me in bed so calm and assured, I never feared

I recall her passing, but these other things will pleasantly live with me forever.

This is somewhat the impression Christ heartily wished his children to remember- not dwell on death but life.

The love, kindness, thoughtfulness, the acts of various kinds that enrich our lives considering them

and trying to be the kind of person He displayed at all times

Everyone dies, not everyone lives the good life!


James Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Not Enough Time

Dad had time to bless the grandchildren with their blessing from the elders of the church. But he didn't have time to renew my wife and mine's wedding vows. We didn't realize that until his death, and went through his stuff that he had written out everything for our ceremony.This is all he had written before his passing:

Friends, loved ones, visitors, Welcome- in the name of Jesus Christ, to this solemn assembly, yet joyous occasion-

We are gathered to afford love, and support

for Lance Gargus and Gina Gargus in their recommitment vows, repledging,

and reextending their vows for life, what a wonderful decision they are making;

We ask for your prayers and other efforts,

supporting this Holy Union-


All participation people in place.

Lance and Gina face each other.

Then I ask,"Who gives this woman in marriage?"

Then I, the minister, say,"Lance, do you take this woman, Gina, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love, to cherish, to protect her, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer as long as you live?"

Gina-"Do you, Gina, take this man, Lance, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish him in sickness and in health, to care and comfort him for better or for worse- richer or poorer as long as you shall live?"

by James Gargus

My brother, Jimmy, was to be the usher. He even had marked out the way he wanted everyone to stand under the archrose arbor at the church. He really wanted to be the one to renew our vows. And I wanted him to be, too.

If you have something you want to do with a love one, do it now. We are here only a little while and then gone like a wisp of smoke. Love them while they are here. Do what they want to do. It only takes a small moment to do a little something with a loved one. We're not guaranteed tomorrow. There is never enough time. I reflect upon this missed chance with my Dad with great sadness. Even in soul searching there is Not Enough Time. Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Friday, November 17, 2006

What Temptations Are of God, Satan, or Man?

He never lets us go-
A synopsis of Satan's wiles of deceit
and God's dealing with love and truth

The first few years of my life were, generally I suppose, normal. One exception, was an episode of terror and turmoil, as my Father was involved in a terrible tragedy; the wasting of a man's life and the sorrow it brought my family; the prison time my dad spent away, the hardships as a consequence of this tragedy, with 8 children and a distraught mother. 2 years of poverty, in the years 1929-1930 the depression didn't help either.

With all the heartaches and other problems, my mother never lost hope; She stayed in touch with her Heavenly Father, we were in church regularly; Her favorite Hymn, was, until the Day of her death, Never "Be discouraged,"Trust the Father's Word". In the old Blue back Hymnals#236- 1933 Edition Reprint 1951. In the Grey Book 1966 Edition I believe, not included, in the New Edition 1995 Blue back Hymns of the Restoration#287.

Some how the temptations of the time in which she lived never fazed her; her life was even her faith in God, her church her family, and never turned away the beggars, and there were many hobos during the depression years.

She was a young mother, and death closed her life at the tender age of 39, a beautiful graceful Lady, but she was committed to the weightier matters of life.

Her values, her priorities, her dedication, love and compassion, unswerving loyalties impressed me so very much even as a young lad they were embedded in my very soul.

Yet, with all this wonderful testimony, not just vocal, but, reality in living, the ways of the world would have its say and way at times and degree. After her passing, life became lonely as the older ones married and left, with the very young having a heavy responsibility of keeping the home and family together Dad became less and less dependable. The difference in the two parents began to settle in and despair became some what the order of life, even as a youth, my enthusiasm and youthful zeal was dampened.

So, three years in the army 1942-1945 brought on a type of maturation process, some good, some bad.

I made my move toward my promise of being loyal to God and my church. This was a process of no means changes.

Sometimes, in serving mankind, such as in scouting work, work in P.T.A., even as chaplain of two schools, as well as chaplain of B.S.A., I kept such a busy schedule that I couldn't find the peace in Zion I was so desperately seeking; there was too much low level exposure; I mean by that I could only witness to a degree because of the political problems.

Then after this period of time in my life some 11-12 years there arose some tragic family circumstances that devastated the family and myself. The Lord really allowed me to put myself through a spiritual wringer. I was allowed to exercise my agency, prerogatives and my selfish, self pitying instincts.

1 I let Satan set up shop, disguised as a counselor, who was on my side, pointing out that I had been a good man, a good Father, and a good Husband, as well as a fine citizen and neighbor.

2 He also pointed out how bad the people involved in my problems were.

3 How justified I was in feeling injured, misused, abandoned.

4 He also pointed out I should get even, after all what had I done to deserve this?

5 He pointed out how the church members had deserted me and how hypocritical they were.

6 I'd show them, they would miss me terribly and I would start seeing my revenge.

7 I deserved to have a good time; hadn't worked all three years and no relaxation.

8 Ease the tension have a drink.

9 Date alot of Ladies, show them off.

10 Develop my dancing skills, it is fun.

11 Stop praying, what had it profited me?

12 Sleep late on Sunday morning, stay up late Sat. nite.

James Gargus
Dad's parents were polar opposites of each other. The man he ultimately became in the end was that of his mother's persuasion. But his father also had his influence, too. Though of a negative power. He dueled with these two sides of his personality at different chapters in his life. God still walked with him through it all. In the end light over came darkness in his life. He went on to touch many people with the Lord's work and his light hearted ways.
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Times Are In Thy Hands

My times are in Thy hand;
My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul I leave
Entirely to Thy care.

My times are in Thy hand;
Whatever they may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
As best may seem to Thee.

My times are in Thy hand;
Why should I doubt or fear?
My Father's hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.

My times are in Thy hand,
Jesus, the crucified!
Those hands my cruel sins had pierced
Are now my guard and guide.

My times are in Thy hand,
I'll always trust in Thee;
And, after death, at Thy right hand
I shall forever be.
William F. Lloyd

This song was on my grandmother's lips as she was dying. The bleeding couldn't be stopped from the birth of her last child, Caldwell. He died not to soon after her. My father watched this as a little boy. Each child was brought in one at a time so she could tell them good bye and give words of comfort and encouragement. Dad was the last one to come in to see her. He was the most special one to her out of seven children, Hassle, Bertie, Lucille, Dad(James), Bob, Ruth, Georgie Ann, and Wanda. He was always worried about her and doing special things for her. He loved to hear her sing old hymns. She had a beautiful voice to match her long, flowing, lovely hair. She kept it put up but when she let it down it would roll to the floor, touching the ground. She would brush her hair late at night in front of her dresser mirror singing. Her voice gave him comfort. She protected him from an abusive, alcoholic father. Teaching him right from wrong versus the hell raising moonshiner ways of his dad.

This song I sung to my father a couple days before he passed away. I got him pink roses like his mother liked. I told him I felt like her spirit was there watching over him. He said he knew she was. He felt her presence there with him. I told him that she was there to be with her little boy in his time of need. I also felt her presence, too. She was there until the end. I just know it in my heart.

I felt the need as we consummated my dad to the ground to sing this song.The rain started to pour down. With my heart breaking and tears streaming down my eyes, I sang. It was hard to tell how much of the water on my face was tears and how much was raindrops. My wife said that she had always heard that if it rained during a funeral that the soul is ascending to heaven. If that is so may this song ascend with him until I see his face again.

This song I hope can be sung at my passing by me or by someone I love. As it is being sung may my grandmother and my father be there at my side as I make the journey one day. Soul searching is bringing out parts of you that are deeply rooted in who you are. Who I am is made up of the legacy I have been handed and must learn how to pass on.
Lance Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

With All The Effort

With all the effort, the love avowed, demonstrated and declared,
You wonder aloud,"I just don't understand why my beloved children, don't care."
The sounds of heart break, the sound no one but you can hear,
Will they relent, will they sometime think of me, just a little, when they're not to pre-occupied,
I won't ask much just a fleeting thought now and then of how we use to love each other,
before things of the world interfered; a phone call, a note, card or letter,
just to say "Dad, I love you, or I miss you, or I need to talk to you or I need your loving advice. "
The wail of a lonely Siren, as you listen keenly alert, cause "the Boys" are still out, and you are apprehensive of all emergency sound,
Till you hear the wonderful welcome sound of the car in the drive and their feet on the porch your fear knows little bounds.
Some how we live our lives, with fear, relief, apprehension, dismay, concern, joy, anticipation, as these many sounds so effect our minds, hearts, and souls,
Many of our fears are completely groundless, unreal, imagined, yet, yet, those fears, those dreaded sounds, are just as real temporarily, as if they were actually happening. Leaving us in the grasp of blind fear so clammy and cold.
Perhaps our faith dwindles ever so slowly away, as each may sustain losses, even tragedies be our lot upon unfortunate occasions, few tho they maybe but devastating in their effect.
James Gargus
Thank you, Dad, for loving us even when we were foolish teenagers and young adults. Your prayers kept us safe.

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Sunday, November 05, 2006

To All Concerned

Feb. 19 -2006 Sat. 5:15 P.M.
At Home, 53 Cantrell Road
Corinth, Ms 38834

To All Concerned,
To- My 6 six children, my wife of 37 years Mary Louise Gargus:
These are my wishes, I pray you all will honor them-
I do not wish to be put on life support system, unless there is at least a 50-50 prognosis; anything less, do not use them.
I know, I will not be in great physical pain, and I know that my passing will be swift and I am not apprehensive concerning it.
My life has been full, and wonderful; so whatever is in store for me beyond this life will exceed this life's experience.
My posessions are meager at best, so all I can leave you is memories, I pray they will somehow have value to all of you. I leave you my love, and have made foolish mistakes I pray they will be supplanted by forgiveness.
Please, stay in and be true to the church and always give your service free and remember the Lord's benefits, please-
your Father, Husband, Paw-Paw, and In-Law,
James H. Gargus Sr.

This was his farewell letter to us only discovered after his death. It speaks for itself.
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Was Holding His Hands

This post was written the night before Autumn's Birthday. This is her first B-day without her Papaw. But she knows who he is with and that he's watching her.
My father had been in ICU for about a week. His oxygen levels were hard to stabilize and his CO2 levels were becoming dangerously high. The human body can only handle so much pure oxygen. The CO2 is the by product and if it can't all be expelled it builds up in the body like a poison. So unknown to us the doctor had decided to put dad on a respirator. But not the kind you have seen with the tube. This one had a mask with leather straps to the face. It looked like a medieval torture device. It shoved air into the lungs and then sucked it back out. Like inflating and deflating a tire and quite torturous. We come into the room to discover my Dad strapped into this device. He was in alot of pain from the look on his face. The air was blasting his face as it went into his lungs. And then a sucking sound like a gigantic vacuum cleaner as it pulled it back out. It was suppose to be breathing for him. But his oxygen levels were dropping all the way to 20%. He was very conscious and not sedated a bit. He was coherent and could speak. He knew what was going on around him. But strangely he seemed not to be here once his oxygen started dropping. He was getting as close to near death as you could get without dying. He sit up there in his bed with the look on his face of someone here but not here. He held his arms straight out and palms down like his hands was in someone else's.
This continued on for 3 or 4 hours of heart wrenching moments. My mother was very distraught, and we did our best to comfort her while trying to keep it together ourselves. It was painful to watch. He had always been her rock to lean on. Now he was leaning on The Rock of Ages.
The time, finally, came to take him off the respirator. The lung doctor informed that they felt so sorry for him .That they came to the decision to rotate him off of the machine every couple of hours. This would give him some relieve from the pain. The device would not extend his life any longer we were informed cause of his failing health. Dad knew this and let the doctor know he didn't want back on the machine anymore. He had to whisper this to him for he was exhausted. He wanted to be able to talk and communicate with us to the end. He had so much on his heart he wanted to say. He wanted to get it all out. In doing so he let us have insight into what he was seeing.
He asked for Brother Fate, our pastor and friend of the family, to come talk to him. There was something very important that had to be said. The pastor ship was rotated among the elders so the burden didn't fall on one person. My dad had instilled the pastor ship onto him when he could no longer handle the duties. But as an elder he was there as an advisor. Bro. Fate came into the room and, he pulled himself up very weakly. He was a very independent man and a fighter. He found his strength in his belief. He whispered into Bro. Fate's ear something so low I could scarce hear anything over all the equipment. Then he collapsed back into bed with a big smile on his face. He had a peaceful look and a sort of reassurance. We got Bro. Fate to come out into the hall to let dad rest and tell us what he had said. He just smirked like he had heard something unbelievable. "What did he say?" we all inquired. "He said they had tried to smother him to death with the respirator. But he was outside his body. He was in heaven. It was a wonderful and amazing place. He was holding our Master's hands while he was going through this but God had sent him back for some important reason," he relayed to us with much joy. I didn't what to say. This was all so hard to watch and witness.
My father was a man just like any of us. But every time he got sidetracked or found himself in some unfamiliar territory his mother's faith she taught him brought him back. He believed in holding on to Him when the dark hours came. My faith I wish was as strong. Lord help my lack of faith. As I write these things I go back and seem more confused as I struggle with my soul searching of who I am and who I am suppose to be.
Lance Gargus
Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Listen, It's the Quiet Time." (The blessing of the Raindrop)

Listen, listen, listen, to the rain drops fall, it's the quiet time!
as the elements weave their magic,
the soul is indeed soothed, Seeing nature at its work,
it's the quiet time!
How do the tiny rain drops stay aloft?
til a time assigned, to float gently down,
making tiny rivulets upon the windows,
Seeing in awe this simple, but wonderful phenomenon,
causing wonder,
it's the quiet time.
Hear their soft conversation, known, understood by these tiny messengers,
it's their purpose, to bless the hearing of those who listen,
to whisper of things,
delivered for all to hear, yet, jealously guarded, to insure the purity,
of informative content, healing the mind,
with peace, those of
the "quiet time", feeling the subtle impulse
to be at rest, with the elemental forces, Deity sent,
gratefully accepted, beneficially believed,
all other emotions, subdued, It's the quiet time!
The rose raises its royal head,-- to see
from whence comes this velvet dressing, so refreshing,
the pure liquid, bathing, cleansing,
polishing the natural beauty of, the wealth of the earth's fruits,
leaving a glow of health's kiss,
it's quiet time!
The sun peeks out upon this misty splendor, briefly,
then hastily retreats,
as it determines the time is not yet, to,
dry the eyes of nature's products of beauty,
awed by the sight of,
a sister element at it's best, in a grandiose treatment of the ornate,
majestic fruits of the joint efforts, of the Supreme,
the orderly fashion of the subordinate,
life sustaining,
movements of those forces,
that bless, improve, caress
yet move on,
so as to make way for the others in order
to insure quality in creative treatment-
it's quiet time!
all disorders, silenced by the positive appearance of,
that which, brings order, out of chaos,
by the element that patiently probes the forces of clamor and din,
decisively supplant them with,
the quiet time.
The tremendous, sometimes unnoticed, invaluable tiny rain drop,
So helpless, seemingly insignificant, seen as errant,
yet whose destiny, to cure the earth of many ills,
whose advent, not prevented by
man's so called technology, advance as it maybe,
powerless to prevent, if so inclined,
the flight,
the mission,
the accomplishment
the order
the pattern
The pre-ordained arrangement
of the life giving quality, of
the inconspicuous, "rain drop",
of such, is fashioned our
"Quiet time." Listen- Listen- Listen
James Gargus

Friday, October 27, 2006


My daughter, Autumn, like all children I imagine loved to catch fireflies at dusk and butterflies during the day. The butterflies is what amazed me the most. Especially, my father, who would watch her from the front porch swing. It was on those beautiful spring days when it was just right not too hot that her hunt began. She stalked those butterflies like a tiger approaching its prey. She would sneak ever so slightly and catch not just one but a handful. Never to harm them but she longed to marvel at their beauty. Each one was unique just like every person is unique to her. She would catch a handful, and they would climb all over her tickling her with their small legs. She would let them go with a throwing out of her arms and then with palms up releasing them from her hands. My dad was always intrigued at how gentle she was with them. She always caught them by ever so slightly picking them up by the wings. You ever tried catching butterflies by hand with no net? It's hard, at least, it is to me. But this entertained dad for hours on end. He was the happiest I have ever seen watching his granddaughter do this.

The time came at the end of his life while he was in the ICU and the children couldn't go back there to see him. Eventually, he was sent to ICU step down when they could do no more for him. But the time he was there in ICU he longed to see them. So I had the idea to go outside his window, it was on the ground level, and take the kids. He could look out, but they couldn't look in. They played outside his window. He looked on and to his surprise Autumn saw a butterfly. She started chasing and snuck up on it. Catching it by the wings as she gently let it go. Holding it in her hands long enough to take it to the window to show my dad. He clapped for her seeing the excitement on her face. Not being able to see back at him cause the window was tinted, she blew him a kiss and released the butterfly. Her little 1 year old brother mimicked her and blew a kiss. He watched that butterfly continue to rise higher and higher until it was out of sight.

The time came when his condition worsened and he could no longer speak so he wrote things out that last week. I'll share the things he wrote and saw later. The oxygen mask was so cold it had frozen to his face. But he always tried to smile. He was writing about how he loved seeing his grandchildren. He mimicked Autumn how she would sneak, grab a hand full of butterflies, and release them. He showed with his hands how she released them like someone releasing doves and he smiled. I couldn't take it so I left the room.

With tears welling in my eyes I went down the hallway so he wouldn't see me crying. I sit down by a window surrounding what looked like a courtyard on top of the building. We were 5 stories up and as I sit in the hallway looking out the window. I noticed there was nothing in the courtyard anymore. At one time there had been plants, trees, flowers, and other things. But all that was left was cobblestone steps. It was barren. The rest of the hallways 4 stories above us had their windows turned to see this once alive landscape so far up on top of the building. The hallways surrounded the courtyard with what looked like no way for anything to get into it. I looked up and saw sitting outside the window where I was, a monarch butterfly. Nothing special about it. Except it was 5 stories up in a barren courtyard on top of a building with no flowers or any reason to be there I could phantom. But there it was right beside me through the window where I sit in my despair. Why are you here I wondered? And then it occurred to me. My father was delighting in the simplest of memories of a little girl catching butterflies. I, on the other hand, was feeling sorry for a loss that hadn't happened yet. I had little time left so I needed to make the most of it with my dad. I needed to enjoy the simple things in life. My dad always took time to enjoy what really mattered. At the end of his life, in the transition to the next, he knew what really mattered. I thanked God for the time I had with my father, and I got up to go back to be with him.

The moment I stood up that butterfly started flying away. Ever rising in a fluttering pattern it went touching each window every story up. Birds sit all around the top story but not one offered to bother that lone butterfly. It flew until it went across the top of the building. I just watched in awe. The sun started to shine across the top of the building after it left. It's beams lighting where the butterfly had just been.

Was this the Holy Spirit taking that form to comfort me being sent here by prayers for me or just simply a well placed butterfly? I am not sure. I like to believe the first myself. The butterfly was a symbol to the first Christians representing The Resurrection. I like the thought of that. All in all a person has to walk this journey called life with others. Some seem good to us and others bad but we're all traveling the same road. Along that road we are given signs if we just look for them of a fellow traveler who will be your guide.
Lance Gargus

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven

Dad, You Mean More Than Words Can Say

"I hope to be a dad just like you. Though no fathers are perfect except our heavenly father, you are special in your children's eyes. I've made mistakes along the way. But in the end you have been there for me to find my way back. I hope I have been there to help you find your way when you got lost. Maybe we helped each other with a kind word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to lean on. You've always been there for me maybe not always physically. But the thought of you as my dad and that you would return was comfort enough. I am your youngest and last child so I see differently than the rest. I try to keep you as you are and not let you age or change. But alas, I cannot. You have had two lives as a father and I understand how that tears at you. Obligations cut short and new ones started in the latter years of your life. I can't recapture any of that for you. But I can give you a granddaughter who loves you tremendously like her dad does. She is a fresh, new life. I hope she carries a little bit of you inside her as I do. I can't be sure she will have clear memories of you. But I will have her spend time with you and someday when the memories aren't so clear I will tell her of you. This is the most important gift I can give you. The gift is the legacy of living on as all of my and my wife's family lives on in my daughter. This is given with all the love God put in my heart."
Lance, Gina, and Autumn

This was written by me in a birthday card to my dad in 1999. It was right after the birth of my first child, Autumn. My last child, Connor, hadn't been born yet. My daughter turned out was old enough to have memories of my dad. She was six years old.
But he didn't live long enough to see her kindergarten graduation. It was only two months away before he passed. She felt he was there, anyways.

Key Search Words:Christianity, Bible, Jesus, Angels, Soul Searching, God, Holy Spirit, Doves, Love, Children, Heaven
"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

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