Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Hand in Faith

They lived at the end of the road. I played there many times and occasionally spent the night. Rowena was my best friend. Her dad was our minister. I knew I had to behave when I went to the parsonage. I certainly didn't want to be in trouble with God.

Rowena was really only in my life until they moved to Hagerstown, Indiana. I believe it was the end of the third grade when my friend left. Rowena and I joined church together. Byron baptized us along a guy named Darrel Fourman. Her husband. I remember stepping into the baptismal reaching for the good Reverend's hand. It was the hand of a friend.

I loved going to the parsonage. It was always active with the Miller children. Zola was busy with her younger children: Anita, the twins Julian and Lillian and Stanley, the baby. I had older sisters who never wanted to play with me. Zola and Byron just added me to the mix. We made up plays and put them on for Rev. Miller. Poor Anita was always in some situation we created, so we could save her. One of those plays even made it into a Sunday sermon. Rev. Miller always listened.

When you grow up, you don't always acknowledge how much someone from the past means to your life. It is that way with Rowena's daddy. He was the first minister I remember at Painter Creek Church. He was the one who called me to the alter and baptized me. He was there to preside over my wedding. I was never in their home that I didn't feel loved the same as their own children. For this woman, I realize how important that was in my life back then.

Reverend Byron Miller is turning one hundred years old this month. I figure he was about forty-three when he baptized me. Where did the time go? In my mind and in my heart, he will always be that forty-three year old minister and I will be nine. It is mental picture I keep of a time I cherish. Reverend Miller and his family were a quiet presence in our lives. We took them in and loved them as our own. He brought many youth to God. And, those youth have kept Him there.

I've never had a chance to see him since I was a young bride. Yet he has always remained an important part of my life. Happy Birthday, dear man. Thank you for the kindness and guidance you gave a young girl. Thank you for giving me a friend like Rowena.

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