There were so many other people that had influences in my life that are no longer here on Earth, I couldn’t leave those people out, so I wanted to continue by telling you their influences in my life by writing part 2 of Gone but NOT Forgotten. I want to start first about a man named Alden. See this man was my wife’s papaw. As I mentioned in part one about people that were family, yet not blood, this is another example of that. Alden Moore taught me many things in life but the most important thing he taught me was how to love unconditionally. He was one of the nicest people I had ever met and he always seemed to put others first and even if he didn’t like how they acted, he still loved them. He was Christ-like. I saw his love demonstrated by his love for his daughter, and his two granddaughters and his love for his wife as well was evident. He shared power in his relationships with people and was very open about communication. He never allowed the annoyances of life to interfere and override his love for people. He respected me and saw my full potential even if I couldn’t. He was proud of the success of his family members and continued to encourage. He allowed God to lead his life and that helped his daily walk. I wish that my kids would have known this man but I am thankful that they continue to be able to see a little bit of him in me by his influence in my life of putting others first and loving unconditionally. 1 John 4:19-21 tells us that we love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. If those that do not love someone they can see, then they cannot love God. Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. Without the unconditional love of Jesus, we cannot love. Alden was able to do this because he knew the greatest love of all, Jesus. I am so thankful for the many blessings he gave me.
Each time I look at a cookie I think of one person that had a huge influence in not only my family but for everyone she interacted with. This lady was called “cookie” mamaw. Mary Evalyn Dillon went home to be with Jesus in June of 2000. I have many memories of her always giving me cookies and me playing blocks in her living room while she would watch back-to-back episodes of Hee Haw with Minnie Pearl and the scene of the numerous amounts of dead animals on the wall or on the table tops because of my great grandpa and my uncle taxidermy experiences. The most important quality she had was generosity. She was the most generous person I have ever known and she definitely helped my family get through some rough times in our lives growing up. If you needed fed, she fed you. if you were cold, she would give you a blanket or buy you a jacket. She was always looking out for everyone’s needs. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 tells us that whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. This describes my great- grandmother so well because she was always cheerful about helping people and always gave from her heart. She was dedicated in giving to her family, church, and strangers. She honestly gave her all to help others first. If we had more people like her in this world, who knows what could happen.
Lastly, I want to talk about another person that was not blood related but was a person that was the biggest baseball fan I had ever met. His favorite player was Frank Thomas and he had hundreds and thousands of baseball cards. The person that made an influence in my life was Oscar Pike. He married my grandma Linda but treated me like his own flesh and blood grandson. I remember one time where we went to Camden Park after it had rained and I had brand new boots on and jumped into a mud puddle after he told me not to. I learned about always obeying your elders that day. We always laughed about that up until his passing. He also took the time to come see me play baseball at the ballfield at times and took me fishing on the banks of the Ohio River as well.
One thing that he taught me and had a big influence in my life was the importance of not getting too caught up in possessions. Material things are not what matters because possessions can become obsessions. When that happens, it takes away from the most import thing that you can possess, Jesus. He said that even though he loved collecting cards and had a lot of expensive and rare ones, that it wasn’t the most important thing that he possessed. When the need for things becomes obsessive it becomes sinful and dangerous for your walk with God. Things that we obsess about only are obstacles that get in the way for our eternal perspective and allows us to lose focus of God’s love and direction for our lives. Luke 12:15 says that Jesus says to “Be careful to guard yourselves from every kind of greed. Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.” Also, in Mark 8:36 it tells us, what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet lose their soul? If we as Christians actually learn how to set apart from the world and be content in life and focus on the love of God we possess in our hearts, we will be happy and content in Christ and we can change the world with love not greed. Losing your soul for things that will perish will always be the wrong choice, but focusing on God’s promise of only needing him will help bless you, like it has me. My faith is stronger because of all these people God put in my life to make me new each and every day. I am sure I will write a part 3 to this soon because I’m sure I will think about more people that have impacted my life in helping me to be a new person that chooses faith over fear and love over hate, and most of all Jesus over the world.
May God touch your heart today, tomorrow, forever.