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Lily Bridge

I find myself sitting here sifting through the millions of stars in the late evening sky, while sitting on the porch in my old rocker. As I move back and forth in the to and fro of my thoughts, I ponder the extraordinary events of the day here in Ballengee. It is a Thursday evening and I should be finding my way to the bed, as tomorrow is a day filled with the duties of Lively’s Feed Store. But for now I am content to linger here and extract the rewards of the day’s activities. As I watch the stars in the sky twinkling their report to the alleviate glow of the moons radiance, the assurance of today’s revelations confirm the thoughts planted long ago and join together with the experiences that blossomed in the garden of today. I find it a great comfort that the subtle heroes of our past have prepared us for the present, as well as the experiences of the day that fortifies our steps into the future we have yet to face.

As it was this day, which began as it now ends upon the porch pondering in my old rocker. As a treat to myself, before going to work at Lively’s Feed Store, I awarded myself a breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen. There I shared a table with Homer Massy, Johnny Crawford, and Caleb Hodge, my fellow members of last evenings gathering at the Church on the Knoll for our Wednesday Bible Study. Our study and discussion was on John 15:5 where Jesus said he was the vine and we the branches. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” We each sat there explaining our thoughts on the meaning of the verse in addition to Brother John’s lesson. I sat there enjoying the viewpoints of each one’s expression, while being amazed that God must have illuminated each one as we rested through the night.

While in the midst of our theological debate Rufus Golf came in and sat at the table next to ours. Rufus is generally a steady sort who keeps an even keel and has a calm atmosphere about him. But today we could easily see he was in a state of exasperation. Rufus is a sub-contractor who works at the Bluestone Dam where the Bluestone River joins the Greenbrier River to form the New River. Several years back it was decided to restructure the dam to produce Hydro Electric power for Summers county, Ballengee, and the surrounding areas.

As we turned our attention to Rufus, I asked him why he was so upset. Rufus explained that on Monday he hired a new assistant to help wire the electrical panels that control the flow of water to each turbine in the dam. Rufus spent Monday with his new assistant, who he called Billy Bob, giving him a tour of the dam and giving him a general layout of the project. He also gave Billy Bob a blueprint of the dam and the schematic of each electrical panel that needed to be wired. Billy Bob on Tuesday went through the expected problems of the first day on the job but managed to make some progress with Rufus’ help. Come Wednesday Billy Bob did not show much improvement and Rufus once again ended the day telling Billy Bob to study the blueprints and schematics in order to accomplish the challenges of his job.

Again today there was not a satisfactory advancement in Billy Bob’s performance and Rufus was constantly being called to go and help him work through each panel. I kept waiting to hear Rufus finally say he had let Billy Bob go but that did not happen. As Rufus continued to give his account of Billy Bob we all gained an admiration for his patience working with Billy Bob. At the end of his story Rufus said that he again told Billy Bob to continue to study the blueprints and schematics.

Before we ended our breakfast meeting I asked Rufus if he thought Billy Bob would ever catch on. Rufus said he felt Billy Bob was earnest enough but really wasn’t placing the needed information in his mind where he could draw upon it when each situation developed at the dam. With that being the closing thought we each bid our farewells and ventured off to face another wonderful day here in Ballengee.

The rest of my day was spent in my place of duty at Lively’s Feed Store. As the chores of the day wore on, I began to look forward to the plans of our evening, which was to be spent with Martha Lily, who is one of those mighty people who helped guide me in the days of my youth. We spent our time together, Miss Lily, Brother Simms, Mother Mary and myself, playing Bridge and discussing our past adventures here in the almost Heaven.

Miss Lily was my Sunday school teacher in those long ago years of my youth. I remember many of those Sunday school lessons she taught at James Street Presbyterian Church. But as we all sat together playing Bridge reminiscing over the times gone by, one of those old chapters from Sunday school again opened up requiring a review of thoughts once resolved. It amazes me that as we travel through life so many events that occur will come around again as either a conformation or evaluation to assure and quiz us of the track we are on.

Miss Lily would give each of us a bible verse to memorize and learn each Sunday. During the week we were to spend time thinking about our assigned verse and then tell her and the rest of the class what that verse meant. One Sunday she assigned the verse John 1:1 to me. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”(KJV) I spent the first part of the week memorizing the verse and as I recited the verse each time more thoughts of what it meant came to my mind. By the next Sunday, as we made our way to church, I had a lot on my mind to say about John 1:1. I sat in Sunday school class anxiously forcing patience for my turn to speak. I felt that if I didn’t get it out soon I would forget it. My turn finally arrived and I explained that the verse meant that in the beginning was God’s word, which was the Bible. Because the Bible says we have to tell the truth God had to keep his word and because God kept His word He became His word.

Martha Lily said that was a very good explanation. She said that when she was growing up that a man was only as good as his word. That if we put God’s word in our hearts, then our words would always be true. Miss Lily said that by coming to Sunday school every week and learning a new Bible verse we were putting God’s word into our heart. That by putting God’s word into our hearts we would have them to guide us through each day and encourage us to live good lives and not be bad.

While I was sitting there contemplating the odds of consistently with 13 cards dealt in each hand of Bridge why I had failed to come up with more than one face card, the subject of John 1:1 was brought up by Brother Simms. Miss Lily immediately asked me if I was still placing God’s word in my heart. Of course I answered with the obvious reflection of quilt on my face that I was. Relying on the fact that each Sunday afternoon, in part, was spent pondering the lesson given by Brother John each Sunday at the Church on the Knoll. Brother Simms continued on with his conversation of John 1:1, which relieved me of further test to my shallow declaration.

As I continued to collect faceless cards dealt into my hand, Brother Simms went on to say that John’s gospel was stating in this first verse of his gospel that Jesus was the full revelation of God’s Word. Jesus did not come only to tell us what God was like but show us what God is. Jesus did this not only by His faithful relationship with God but that He was God in the flesh of man. It is then, through Jesus that we can come to fully know God. Miss Lily went on to agree that there was a great power to be found in Brother Simms interpretation. She also said that by placing our trust in Jesus’ direction we could have a life of spiritual abundance filled with victory over the pitfalls of life.

We continued to play a few more hands of Bridge, while I feasted on Miss Lily’s blueberry cornbread cupcakes. As the early evening moved on to a time long enough for a night out, Mother Mary pointed out that is was near past my bedtime. After all these years, much longer than I would admit, I still find that I’m under the direction of a caring soul to tell me I am past my time for bed. Mother Mary and I thanked Miss Lily for her gracious hospitality, bid our farewell to Brother Simms, and began our journey together to the cabin in the meadow.

With the wind flowing through the leaves it sounds a distant applause to the glorious day the Lord had given to us all here in Ballengee. Though I am far past the hour of retreat I just cannot let go of the marvel of this day’s adventure. With each promise I shall stand to go inside on every forward movement of the rocker, still I explore the truth of the power of God’s word. His word was in the beginning and all came after by the power of God’s word. The word was with God and reveals His plan for humanity through the life of His Son Jesus. The word of God through Jesus is integrated into the will of God the Father. The example of Jesus’ life in every word He spoke and every action of His life here was in complete obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus is the measure that our lives must aspire to become. To live a perfect life as Jesus did is an impossible accomplishment for us but through His gracious sacrifice we can be seen as pure in the Father’s eyes. Jesus is the living word of God. By abiding in His Spirit, which dwells within us, we can achieve an abundant Christ like life.

As I rock back through the events of the day, I wonder why Billy Bob could not see that his study of the blueprints and schematics would not bring him success in his efforts at the dam. I marvel at the patience of Rufus in his unwavering desire to help Billy Bob become an acceptable employee. Martha Lily in the days of my youth showed me the bridge to truth and victory in life. It is very simple for us to claim the victory in the battle that has already be won. Simply by following the master carpenter and placing His blueprint for our lives in our heart we can defeat the devil, as Jesus did with the word of God. With that last forward rock in my old rocker my friends, I retire to my room in peace.

 

 

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

February 13, 2012

Durant Bible College

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