It was after nine as Jeff and I took one stroll around the room to look at the flowers and gifts left to all of us in memory of Johnnie. As we were alone, music now could be heard as it broke the silence and the chill in the air. Tired we walked up to the casket and I watched Jeff pat his daddy on the hand and smile at him. He held in the emotion of wanting to be strong as the tears filled his eyes. With that pat, he let out a sigh, a relief of peace yet pain of sadness. Three nights ago when we were saying our prayer of thankfulness, he leaned over and kissed his daddy’s lifeless body and said, “I am going to preach you the best funeral you have ever heard”. I believe Jeff knows that day is coming so too soon. Today is that day. A son preaching his father’s funeral will be hard for a grieving son, but I am confident in the Lord He will give him words to minister.
Around 600 people came to the funeral yesterday evening for visitation. The little things people remembered is so touching. One man told me, “Johnnie weighed each one of my kids on the meat scale when they were babies”, another one said, “When my house burnt down in 1966, Johnnie and Benita was the first ones there and the first one to bring us groceries”. Another lady came and told me that when she was little, her and a friend would ride their bikes down to the store and Johnnie would give them some candy and tell them, “You girls are prettiest little girls”. Many people came up and told me they were their second set of parents. Little gestures that brought about a big impact to the old and also to the young alike. So don’t think the little things don’t count, because they do. People will remember the little things, small things that seem so silly. A smile and a kind word will go a long way, maybe more than I realized. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I left, thanking God I lived in a community of friends, family and neighbors who never forget the “little things”.
Zechariah 4:10 In the work of God, the day of small things is not to be despised. God often chooses weak instruments, to bring about mighty things: and tho’ the beginnings be small, he can make the latter end greatly to increase.