A Peculiar Distraction

Original MySpace posted on Friday, September 14, 2007

(Note to readers: Just to remind you, this post is about 11 months old, and I include it here just to keep the posts consistent. Although I have made many adjustments in my life since the event written about, I am doing quite well, God has richly blessed me.)

It’s been a rather difficult 2 weeks.

I’m not here to whine, just here to tell you what’s happened recently.

On September 1, 2007, at 12:45 am, I found my father dead, face down on the living room floor in our mobile home. To our best deduction, we think he died of a heart attack. He had diabetes, high blood pressure, and various other health maladies. His recent check up a week and a half earlier went well, good blood sugar levels, very good blood pressure readings. He was told by his physician to discontinue a certain medication, for it was recently determined by the health and food administration that this medication when taken with other medications increased the risk of heart attacks. It is my speculation that dad got confused and continued to take the medication.

The funeral was Tuesday, September 4th, at my church, Parkside Baptist Church. It was a very uplifting service, both God glorifying and honoring to my father. Steve Allen played “Amazing Grace” on his trumpet, we sang “Old Rugged Cross” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, Delbert Vest sang “Fall on my Knees and Cry Holy”, Chet Haney preached a very evangelistic sermon, and the congregation viewed the body and left the sanctuary to a Dixieland version of “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Dad was a Jazz trumpeter, and played in a variety of Big Bands throughout his life. Music was a huge part of his life.

When mom died 11 years ago, August 10, 1996, I led my dad to the Lord. I know without a shadow of a doubt that dad and mom are together in Heaven with Jesus. So I have peace about that. Yes, I do have my moments, it comes and goes. I don’t fight the tears, neither do I force them. It’s hard to go home in the evening, knowing he’s not there to greet me. It’s equally difficult waking in the morning, have to come to the memory that he’s no longer here. (I lived with dad for the purpose of taking care of him; his diabetes had produced several wounds on his legs that had to be dressed every other night. But at the same time it was free rent, so it was a mutually beneficial arrangement.)

I have a lot of great friends who are supporting me during this time with encouragement and other means of support. Steve Allen let me stay at his place for a week while I adjusted to the idea of Dad’s passing. Chris Garrison is letting me move in with him as a roommate. Jessica Lytle gave me a free haircut. Dana comforted me when the tears came by asking me to tell me a good story about my dad. Dwight, Rich, and me went camping for a few nights. Old and new friends expressed their condolences in kind ways. Got to see my good friend Pat Calhoun for the first time in about 10 years. Trish, Kim, and Barbara brought by a chocolate chip cookie cake. Sherryl Allen ironed some shirts and a got the wrinkles out of a sport coat. Tim Shafer store used a white shirt and some black slacks since there weren’t any dry cleaners opened on Sunday and Labor Day. The lady at U-Store-It waived the late fees on my storage unit. People were kind and supportive, for which I am grateful.

Dad did not have a will, and was in considerable debt. He was very disorganized in his later years, so we had to scramble to find the insurance policies. I will be moving out of the mobile home because I can’t afford to live here and be responsible with my own debt. The mobile home will probably go to probate court to be sold and the funds, what little they are, be distributed to dad’s many creditors. Although I will miss the “Home” aspect of where I have lived for the past 26 years, it’s really not home anymore without dad here, and I need a fresh start. I will be looking forward to moving in with Chris for a season.

It is a possibility that in the first summer term of 2008 I will again be pursuing my education. I hope to be attending The College at Southwestern, the undergraduate school at Southwestern Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas. On that note, for those of you who are pray-ers, here are a few requests:

1. Pray that I trust in God for my financial situation.

I really can’t see the light at the end of the table right now.

2. Pray that Southwestern accepts me. My financial situation is a few strikes against me. I, too have

considerable debt, not as bad as my dads, but enough

of a challenge. Plus my credit kinda sucks.

3. Pray that I continue to adjust to the loss of my

Dad.

By the way, dad’s name is David Loren Ray. My family is small, just me, my sister Debra Mankins, her husband Tommie, their daughter, my niece Mollie. I also have a second cousin, Robert Stubbs and his wife Jennifer, who I have discovered in the past years. There are distant relatives who I don’t know and have never met. But that’s it.

On Sunday night, before the funeral on Tuesday, My best friend Richard’s mom, Judy Pate had a heart attack. She went to the critical care unit at WNJ Hospital, and I promptly excused Rich from the funeral, he needed to be with his family. Judy fought a rough fight over the next 3 ½ days, but lost her fight on Thursday morning. Her funeral was this past Monday, and Dwight, Pat, and I went to our second funeral in less than 1 week. I think it is so surreal that Rich and I lost a parent so close together. His mom was like a second mom to us sometimes. She was awesome cook, and made awesome cakes!

Well, that was my past 2 weeks. But God is good, and he has pulled me through, and will continue to do so. I covet your prayers, for I need His grace on a daily basis. There’s a lot of uncertainty in my future, but that does not scare me. Uncertainty is a part of life, even for those of us who trust God on a day by day basis. We are not uncertain of his presence and promise, but of what lies ahead when things seem so dark. I trust His guidance and protection in days ahead, yet I do feel what all folks feel when faced with similar challenges. I am a bit overwhelmed.

I hope I did not depress you too much. For the most part, my days are pleasant. I still laugh and smile. I am dealing the best I can. Sometimes it sneaks up on me, for a momentary season. But I return to the moment at hand. This ain’t the end……

1″Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5″No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14: 1-7

(For those who are wondering, I will not be attending seminary this fall, and when I do return to school, I will be finishing my bachelors at another educational institution.)

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