The Coshocton County Beacon September 10, 2020 - Page 11

September 10, 2020 The Beacon • 11 Always remember that you are already eternal I thought I was going to my cousin’s wife’s funeral service last weekend. She’d have been 56 in October. Turned out it was more of a calling hours type set-up: beautiful flowers and pictures, a man playing soft rock songs from the ‘70s, a pretty afternoon sun and a ton of broken hearts, shattered by the stark and harsh reality of why we were gathered together there. For different reasons, that afternoon sunk deep within me as I began and seemed unable to stop thinking about all the different what if’s, what’s been lost and all the shoulda, coulda, wouldas in my life. Staring at some tombstones a little later that day reminded me of those whom I have loved deeply and dearly and are no longer around. Has my first wife’s mom really been gone 11 years? Most of my grandparents, 40 years now? My dad, I never knew him as a man. I was still a wet-nosed, dim-witted teenager when he died. The night he died, did he know how much I loved him? I never told him. I had to figure out adulthood without his reflections and input. To this day, how much I miss what might have been. Sharing all the wonderful things that have happened in my life, I never had a chance to do that with those who left too soon. I parked the contemplations of those who had died and began to look at the present-day relationships within my family and beyond. If I am honest, there are some entanglements and some estrangements there, tither and yon: painful hurts, simmering angers, silent treatments or stilted interactions. Life is so short. Why do we do this to one another? Next stop, the things I wish I would have done. It is said when you are young, you regret things you have done. When you are old, you regret that which you hadn’t done. Have I been the best son and sibling I can be? The best spouse and father? In-law? Friend? Co-worker? Teacher? Pastor? Neighbor? I think I gave it a good college try along the way. But looking backward, there are some things I would change if I could go back. But I can’t. Lastly, I found myself staring at the edge of my twilight years. Unless I’m in the truck, I can’t run 3 miles in 16 minutes anymore. The parts I have broken and twisted along the way hurt when I wake up and on rainy days. I find myself taking a cat nap in the evening so I don’t have to go to bed so tired. Do I forget and misplace things more than I used to? (I’m not sure; I can’t remember.) People younger than me are retired and/or cashing the chips. With the banana peel in sight, how far away is my own grave? Grief, anger, pain and woe be unto me for my fled childhood and fading prime of my life, right? Wrong! This is the day the LORD has made, let us be glad and rejoice! We are created not only for his pleasure and joy, but ours too. I endeavor to focus on what is good in my days. I work daily to be a blessing and not a curse in the lives of others. I recognize that though my vessel of clay will run dry on some particular date ahead, the spirit of my unique creation in the reflection of Christ will go on forever. I’ll be in heaven with not only my Lord but all those wonderful people who knew and loved him the same as I. Good riddance to grief, anger, pain and fleeting mortality. They will not be in heaven with us. Neither You can learn from old newspaper The year is 1913, and an old newspaper advertisement from a place in Georgia called the Blood Balm Company promises to cure, purify and enrich your blood. You can even order a free sample of the product or spend $1 for a regular size. Below is a list of claims similar to today’s challenging deceptions. Here are some examples of a cure that may have been seen by your ancestors. But look no further: The Botanic Blood Balm Company has a miracle cure for people who suffer from lumps, scaly skin, ulcers, rheumatism, syphilitic blood poison and pimples that do not heal. More ailments listed in the ad are swollen glands, sore throat or mouth, skin rashes, ulcers on any part of the body, carbuncles. They guarantee to cure the most deeply seated cases. The ad reads: “Our Botanic Blood Balm will drive all poisons from your system and sends a stream of pure, rich blood directly to the skin surface. In this way symptoms will be cured immediately, changing the entire body into a clean, healthy condition. If you have shoulder pains, even old, stubborn cases are quickly cured because these troubles are caused by blood poison. B.B.B. has succeeded where others have failed. “If you have catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes), watery blisters, rheumatism, and open, itchy sores of all kinds, B.B.B. knows that even the worst cases are caused by blood poison. Our balm kills the poison and makes the blood pure and rich and heals the sores. Our balm gives a smooth, rosy skin with the red hue of pure, rich blood. Our product is pleasant and safe and is composed of pure botanic ingredients. It may be the very remedy your body needs.” While researching for your ancestors, newspapers are often overlooked as a valuable source of information. Here’s an actual ad for a funeral director and embalmer from 1907: “H.A. Wolfe, funeral director and embalmer, also lady embalmer for women and children when desired. Prompt and personal attention given day or night. Wolfe Furniture Company Store. Phone 425 or Phone 566.” Here’s another 1935 newspaper article that reports, “The vandals who have been stealing flowers from graves in Oak Ridge Cemetery are warned by Chief Ray Duling that arrests and prosecutions will be made. Police have received a number of complaints since Easter Day.” “Desecration of a cemetery is a serious matter,” Chief Duling said, “and a close watch will be kept in the future for those who have taken the flowers. Repetition of the offense will result in filing charges for theft.” Mayor W.L. Craig said, “Conviction will result in the heaviest punishment under the law.” Another 1935 report comes from Charles E. Wells, superintendent of cemeteries of Oak Ridge and South Lawn, who reports there were 170 total interments in Oak Ridge and 153 in South Lawn. From Oak Ridge we find Nettie Stevenson, Edward Scherrer, Howard Lennon, Ella Wilcoxon, John Reigle, George F. Houston, Nellie Davis, Sarah Morrow, Barbara Ellen Haller, Caroline Collier, Edna Coe Erkman, Rev. John Frank, Sarah J. Renfrew, Elizabeth Agnew, Barzillar R. Shaw (age 99) Elmira Ashman and Kathrine McMannus. will fear, rejection, loneliness, despair or a host of other negative emotions. Kick those shadowy valley thoughts from your mind and fear no evil. Your head has been anointed with oil, and a banquet feast has been prepared and awaits. When we know Christ and accept his gift, we pass from hopeless souls to sinners saved by grace, bound for a glorious eternity. I think the bottom-line reason I found myself so heavy in heart that day was I didn’t hear anything about Jesus and I forgot to remind myself otherwise. Me personally, in those bluesy moments, I love being reminded of the Christian perspective. If you go to some calling hours one of these days and Gordon Lightfoot’s song, “If You Could Read My Mind,” starts coming through the microphone, don’t spiral down on those feelings. Whenever dark thoughts BF-00491219 or despairing moments circle, remember the truth of the matter: You are already eternal. Savor the moment now and rest in peace of the times to come. 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