An homage to spiritual mentors

By Debra Whittingon

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

The Rattler Reunion has passed again for another year with the torch passed to the class of 1979 to host next year. While there were many new alumni present for the festivities, there were also those who were missed this year. Some had passed away and others have health issues that prevent them from attending any longer. At the Pancake Breakfast I saw fewer of the older people that were faithful to attend every year. Also missing were Kiwanians who helped every year but due to health were also missing.

I remembered the first Golden Rattler luncheon I attended as an honorary member in 1994. At that luncheon there were several alumni from the 1920’s. I enjoyed getting to know them and hear stories of what it was like to attend THS back in those days in the original high school building. They were a wealth of information for me as I was writing a history book about the area.

As I was writing my history book, I interviewed many old timers of the area. I heard stories of homesteading the area and having to haul water because they were too poor to have a pump in the house.

From Mark’s grandmother before she passed away in 1989, I loved to listen to the stories she told. She told about coming to this country as a young girl walking beside the wagon. Then I heard what it was like as a young bride homesteading in a tiny dugout with only one window. She told me of her struggles through the depression working way before the sun came up until past dark so she could provide for her three sons.
Besides the history lessons I learned some of the spiritual lessons she learned in her walk with the Lord that got her through many a difficult time. She spent time every day with her Bible that she kept on her kitchen table. It was full of underlined passages that spoke to her and helped her in her Christian walk.

Granny wasn’t the only one in this community that helped me in my spiritual walk. There were several older Christians in the church that took me under their wing and mentored me. In my 20’s, I was given the privilege to teach a Sunday school class of women over 80 years old. I think I should say they taught me, but they seemed to like having me in the class leading the discussion. It reminds me of what I read in Titus 2:3-5, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” These dear Christian women taught me about all of these things.

When the first one of them passed away, I experienced deep grief at her passing. At her funeral, one of the other ladies in the class pulled me aside and talked to me. She explained that I should feel joy for our class member because she was in heaven with Jesus. She reminded me that I was only crying for myself and that as I grew older I would understand the passing of an elderly person in a different way. She was right, because now as I miss these dear saints, I can rejoice that they are free of pain and are right now in heaven with Jesus.

These dear saints won’t be with us forever and when they are gone, so is their wisdom gleaned from a lifetime of experiences. I enjoy sitting down and visiting with older people. How I love to just sit back and listen. It is usually easy to get an older person to talk if they know you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Once they are gone no matter of wishing that we had taken the time with them will change the opportunity lost forever.