Amazing Grace

  • Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Having just enjoyed Thanksgiving, I can truly say it is my favorite holiday.  I love being with family and friends while focusing on the many blessings that have taken place during the past year.  Quite often we give the credit for our blessing to being lucky or fortunate. However, it's probably more than luck, perhaps it's just Amazing Grace.

Many of you are aware that a few weeks ago Catherine and Chip survived a frightening home invasion.  It was just a normal Sunday evening at 7:00, when the door opened into Chip's den where he was watching TV and two masked men entered. One of the intruders immediately pulled out a gun, pointed it at Chip and demanded money.  The other man walked into the foyer holding a brick he had picked up in the yard. Meanwhile, Catherine was in the bedroom and hearing a noise she went to the door to see what was going on.  Realizing there was a strange masked man in the hall with the brick poised ready to throw at her, she did the only thing she knew to do and retreated back into her room closing the door.  Meanwhile, their dog Bella went into action barking and running towards the trespasser scaring him enough to make the two men run away.

Regardless of what the intruders took, the most important thing these men stole from the young couple was peace of mind.  Since that fateful night, Catherine has not felt comfortable being at home.  Hopefully over time the pair will stop thinking about this frightful experience and learn to again feel safe at home.  Bunny and I are thankful that Catherine and Chip were not harmed, and believe it was not chance, but rather, Amazing Grace.

My family and I are thankful for our friend Mary. Mary was born in Thailand and lived with her mom and two brothers near a U.S. Base during the Vietnam War. In order to make extra money, Mary and her mother did laundry for the American Soldiers stationed in Thailand who were supporting the southern Vietnamese. One American Soldier became friends with Mary's family and was asked by her mother to take 10 year old Mary back to the United States to live.  The birth mother understood how grueling life was in Thailand for girls and was willing to give up her daughter in order for Mary to have a better life in America. After a two year endeavor, Mary arrived in the United States and was adopted by the American soldier and his wife.  Mary grew up in a military family and traveled most of her young life but eventually ended up in Clarendon County. There she met her future husband at church, married, and became the mother of two daughters.  Mary's life in the States was indeed better than life in Thailand but her primary regret was that her birth mother would never know how good life was for her in America.  Eventually, Mary's husband would become a pastor of a local church and Mary would become a pastor's wife.  Mary's birth mother probably had no concept that her young daughter who left the home land only knowing about the Buddhist Religion would eventually become an energetic worker in a Christian Church in America. It is a wonderful American Story and it's another example of Amazing Grace.

My family and I are very grateful for the pleasant memories we share of our dad, especially how he rescued and nurtured stray animals.  One of my first recollections of a rescue was a dog named Skeeter.  Daddy found Skeeter at church one night homeless, hungry, and tangled in wire. Skeeter was one of the first stray rescues, but there were many to follow.

Without a doubt I have been to many funerals at Union Church throughout my life.  There have been funerals with rain, wind, heat, and even pesky bugs, but never have I witnessed a dog attending a funeral until my dad's.  Following the service in the church, as family and friends were gathering at the graveside all of sudden, a scruffy mutt appeared.  He ran under the tent where my family and I were seated and if dogs could grin, this dog was grinning.  He wagged his tail and appeared to be thrilled to be at such a large gathering.  Watching the little stray, most of the relatives responded with smiles because it was very appropriate that George David have a dog at his funeral. Perhaps this little mutt represented all the animals that the gentle man had given homes to through the years.  The little canine visitor ambled among the family and finally lay at the edge of the grave. Even though we could not know, we presumed it was another case of Amazing Grace.

Most of us will not encounter a shameless intruder; we will not have to move to a distant country to improve our lives, or even find a dog at church to understand our many blessings do not happen by chance or fate, but rather, it’s Amazing Grace.

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