The Action of Love

4 05 2014

One of my favorite joys as a youngster was sitting at the dinning room table while my Great Aunt Pearl told me stories of the olden days growing up in West Virginia.  She could keep me captivated for hours, which she liked also since that way she could puImaget me to work breaking peas out of their pods, pulling grapes from the vines brought in the house or some other produce from the garden. On this occasion she had begun telling about her brother Roscoe.  “Who’s Roscoe?” I asked.  I only knew of one brother to Pearl and his name was Sam.  “Sam was my younger brother, but John Roscoe (his full name) was my older brother, but he died when he was just 21 from pneumonia back in 1923.” “Wow, that was a long time ago,” I said seeing that it was now in the mid 60s.  “Do you really remember him that well?”  And then, Pearl stopped for a moment and just stared toward the wall.  Somehow I knew she wasn’t looking at anything on the wall, she was seeing her big brother Roscoe.  With softness in her eyes and a smile on her lips she began, “Tall, slender, rugged but good looking, that was Roscoe.  All the girls in the region were crazy about him.”  “Popular with the girls, that’s cool!” I said.  Now Pearl was looking straight at me, “Let me tell you a story about what he thought of being popular with the girls, Little Boy Blue.”  (Had to throw that Blue Boy in there because that’s what she always called me and it still brings a smile, yes and even a couple of tears when I remember.)   She started once more, “Back when I was a little girl all the kids in the region went to the same school and were taught in the same room.  The youngest would sit closest to the front and the rest would be in the next rows back according to age.  There was a road that led to school, but the quickest way there was a foot path that all the kids would take.  It led to a stream where rocks had been placed in the water for crossing without getting wet.  I must have been seven or so and walking by myself to school.  (A wooded path and a little girl walking by herself? Let’s see that kind of security of mind in this day and age!)  It had rained hard the night before and the path was slick, I ended up falling getting mud on my face, hands, dress and books.  Three older girls came upon me all dirty and laughed at the sight I was.  It made me feel bad, but there wasn’t enough time to go back home and change, had to get to school so I kept on walking.  The older girls and I arrived at the stream, but didn’t cross.  The rain had made the water rise and all the stepping stones were submerged several inches, so we just stood there trying to figure the best way to cross.  One of the girls looked back up the path and said, ‘Oh, here comes Roscoe, he’ll get us across!’  When Roscoe reached where we standing the three surrounded him, batting their eyes and using their softest voices pleaded with him to help them across the stream.”

Pearl stopped here for a moment, for now something was happening I had seen rarely from my beloved Great Aunt Pearly Mae, tears were flowing freely down both cheeks. After a moment of composure she continued with her story.  “I saw Roscoe look over my way and just stare as I stood at a distance quietly.  I thought he must be thinking he’d never seen such a dirty, snot faced, rag doll of a person as what I must have looked like.” Now her voice broke with the emotion of love combined with laughter, “Leaving those other girls standing there staring, he walked right over to me, scooped me up, put me on his shoulders and said, “Hang on Sis, I’ll get you over.  He waded across the stream with me perched up high and ready to burst from joy for what he did showing how much he loved me.”

It was years later that Pearl’s words came home to roost on her thick headed great-nephew, “He showed how much he loved her, not with words, but with his actions, awesome!!”

This story made me think about two areas of my life–the first is my family, wife, children and that includes in-law children, and grandchildren.  I never, never, tire of telling them how much I love them and never will.  But the question comes, do I do enough to show them how much I love them?  Personally I’d like to think so.  The second thought and really the most important is do I really love the one I call Lord–not only with my words, but with my actions and deeds?  I consider this a very important question that each one of us who call ourselves “Believers” should ask on occasion.

1 John 3:18-19 tells us, “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord” (Living Bible).  Two of the best actions I’ve found are prayer and reading God’s Word regularly, it helps to know how to put His love for me and you to work.  If you need more, get with me and I’ll send you a booklet that might be of help.

Pearl finished her story that day telling me of the last action of love Roscoe ever did for her; and that action came in his dying words to his father, “Let mother and sisters know I’ll see them in Heaven.”  Those words tell of an action of love and faith that he wanted the others to know“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  In other words, “I’ll be there waiting for you.”

Pearl went to join Roscoe in Heaven 30 years ago now, and at times when thinking of them and this story, my imagination lets me envision a little one running full stride into the arms of her tall, slender, rugged but handsome big brother who slings her up onto his shoulders where the two of them celebrate being together again, as he then carries her to the arms of her Lord.  What a reunion?!! What a big brother?!!  Oh, what a Savior?!!  Thanks for reading, see you next Monday!!!  


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