Mar 18 2012

Learning From My Elders

“Blessed is the person who finds wisdom, the person who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.”  Proverbs 3:13-14

It has been a bittersweet weekend for me.  I have had to preach the funerals of two very special persons.  One funeral was here where I live yesterday; the other was Friday night at a church in Tennessee where I served a number of years ago.  There were a lot of similarities between the two ladies who died.  Both were close to ninety years of age.  Both had been widows for several years.  Both loved their church and were known for their desire to share their faith with others.  There was, however, another common trait that I want to focus on today.  Both loved nature and recognized it to be God’s handiwork and also a means of His revelation.

The woman from here that died I’ve actually written about before on this blog site.  Back in May of 2010 I posted an entry called “Charlotte’s Praise” and talked about Charlotte Mann’s love for God’s creatures and the beauty of this world.  Until just a few days ago Charlotte continued to feed at least 70 ducks every day at her home.  She loved her “babies” and found great delight in them.  She had a groundhog family that lived in her backyard too.  “Homer” was the head of this groundhog family and Charlotte worried about him if she didn’t see him around.  Earlier in her life Charlotte had the opportunity to travel some in North America and the natural beauty she talked often about those places being a source of inspiration to her.  For Charlotte every day was a gift from God and she gave thanks for the little things that a lot of us take for granted.  She was someone who truly loved both the Lord and His Creation.

The other woman, Vauda Faulkner, likewise loved God immensely and felt His presence keenly in nature.  As I prepared to do Vauda’s funeral her son, David, shared with me some wonderful stories.  He told me that his mother always saw the world through the eyes of a child.  David said, “She would just stop whatever she was doing, awestruck with the beauty of falling snow, sunrise and sets, and the moving of storms.”  Vauda felt that God had given everything in His Creation a “voice” and encouraged her children and grandchildren “to listen to the falling snow, gurgling brooks, bird song, the wind in the forest.”

Early on in my life I was taught the importance of learning from my elders.  Even though I’m at the age now where I am a lot of people’s “elder” myself, I continue to learn from those who are ahead of me in years.  I learned a lot from both Charlotte and Vauda and thought I’d pass on to you today some of their wisdom.  At a time when many people fail to make the connection between God and nature I’m glad I can share with you some wisdom from two very special ladies who did make that connection.  I am going to miss both of them.

–Chuck

(The top picture was taken near Jellico, Tennesse, where Vauda lived.  The bottom picture was taken near Pikeville, Kentucky, where Charlotte lived.)