Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Trip to the Dermatologist and Maturity

I went for the first time ever to the Dermatologist this morning. My children are regulars there with skin issues going way back to acne, etc. Something came up on my face about six years ago. It didn't hurt and I was fine with it. It's my face, after all. But, Mary, my wife, has not been ok with it from the beginning. So, it took her around six years to wear me down. I cave much quicker on other stuff.

So, I went in this morning and took off my shirt and sat down. The doctor, a wonderful guy, came in and introduced himself. He asked why I was there. I told him my wife made me come in. He said: "Gee, I've never heard that before." He's awfully funny.

I showed him the place on my face and he found another 10 or so places just like it. He looked and said (using very scientific terms) that it was harmless "warty" stuff that comes with maturity. I said: "Oh good. I'm so glad it has nothing to do with aging." He offered to take the thing off my face, but said it was ok with him. So, I allowed as how if it was ok with him, it was great with me.

There is a cyst on my back that he can remove if need be but it was ok too. So, I posted my results on facebook and I've gotten all kinds of interesting remarks. One guy says his wife tried to get his "wart" off with nail polish remover. One of my "friends" said that for insurance purposes these things are called senior acne.

There are some good things about maturity. Of course, the maturity I'm talking about has nothing to do with age. It can have something to do with aging but it doesn't have to. I've seen younger people with a lot of maturity. And, I've seen older people with the maturity of a teenager.

Jesus says: "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." Perfect means something like maturity- maturity in love. If we are fortunate, we live to grow older. And, I hope with God's help, and the Holy Spirit's guidance, that we are growing into maturity as well.

And, remember God loves us "warts" and all. Thank God.
Dave Nichols

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Veteran's Luncheon

Yesterday, at Bethel, thanks to Maureen King and the Senior Adult Council we had our annual Veteran's Luncheon at Bethel. It was well-attended; it always is. The speakcer was Brig. Gen. Ed Hall who has taught at Wofford College and has been a leader in the ocmmunity for many years. He talked about what it means to be a soldier. It was moving as he talked about the soldier and the families who were part of their service. Dorothy Voss led in music from the "war" era. And, we sang, ending it all with God Bless America.

It still amazes me how many are still around who served in World War II. What a wonderful group: the greatest generation. There were people who had served in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. I have always admired those who gave/give themselves in military service to our country.

I graduated from high school in 1970 and the Vietnam War was winding down. You remember that it ended officially in 1973. As I remember, our country went to a lottery system. Each person with a Draft Card was assigned a number based on their birthday. Those with lower numbers would be called first. I remember that my number was 50. I thought I would be called, but was not. Some of my friends went, of course. Some of them died. One good friend died in a Jeep accident.

I would have gone. My family was one that believed in duty and service. I was on my way to seminary, in my first years of college. But, my number didn't come up. Since then, we've gone to an all-volunteer service method.

My churches served military people when I was in Charleston. There at least 30% of my people were active military, mostly Navy. Some were in the Air Force.

In Myrtle Beach, many were in the Air Force until the base was closed. Many others were retired military, there for the services at the base and for the beach.

Everyone prays for an end to war; the soldier prays it most. We give thanks for all those who have been willing to give themselves in service to their country.

Dave Nichols

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

After the Wedding

We gathered on Friday last week to rehearse for the wedding that I talked about last week. Our middle daughter was getting married. Most of the future in-laws had arrived and we spoke briefly before the rehearsal. Some of them were not there because of a flight cancellation. You remember that they are from Texas, most of them.

Rehearsal was uneventful. By that, I mean all went well. The pastor (Chris' former youth pastor) was there as were all the bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc. I was surprised at how emotional I felt at the rehearsal. I guess this was the first time it came home to me that this was really going to happen. My way of dealing with things like this is to put them off emotionally. I believe and practice: Don't cross the bridge until you get to it. Well we were at the bridge and I felt it. It was a beautiful sunny day at the rehearsal. All went well.

We got home and collapsed. Next day, the day of the wedding, we got up and got started. The women had a brunch to attend at 11am. The men met with me at the parsonage for barbecue. My next "son-in-law" cooked the barbecue. It was great. We ate and watched football and had fun.

The women came home and we had a few hours. So, we relaxed until we left for the wedding. There were clouds; so, we, left the tent up for this outdoor wedding. But, there was not a drop of rain. It was a wonderful, joyful, service celebrating God's presence in it all.

Bluegrass music from the Saggy Bottom Boys and Brandy made the service more special. Then, in a blink of the eye, it was over and we went to the party. We greeted family and friends. We ate a bit; shared cake. Then, we danced.

Frances came to me and said: "Tell the DJ to play one more song and then we'll go." I told him. The song flew by and I looked up to see Frances and Chris running out the door and everyone behind them. I caught up just as they were pulling away.

Then, we spent about an hour cleaning up- flowers, food, and other things. Late that night, Mary and I (at her urging) took the leftover food to the Homeless shelter. They were so appreciative. I was humbled.

Then, back home, we stayed up later and then went to bed. Sunday was good, yet sad, as we adjusted to the idea. We picked up a car at the airport and brought it back to our house. Martha, our third daughter, was at home because of Fall Break at school.

That night we watched "Father of the Bride" (1950). Though the movie is old, it reminded us that not much has changed over time.

It's Wednesday and I'm beginning to recover. Jesus does show up at weddings, by the way.

Dave Nichols

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When a Daughter Gets Married

Mary suggested this week that we pull out the old version of the movie “Father of the Bride…” I nixed the idea. I remember the movie all too well and the trials of the father. I have seen the newer version with Steve Martin. The older version is better but the newer one is good.

We’re heading down the home stretch at the Nichols house as we get ready for Frances to be married to Chris next weekend, October 10th. At this point, as far as I can tell, everything is ready to go- as ready as everything can be for a wedding. You all have been so gracious and understanding of the situation. You all have been generous as you always are. We’re grateful to you. Keep us in your prayers.

Weddings are special times for families. There are so many feelings focused on that one event in a family’s life. There is so much to say and do. Parents are seeing their little boy or girl step up to another level in life. Parents are happy for their children, yes, immensely happy, and yet they are sad. Time and tide wait for no one, the saying goes. Time moves on. You wouldn’t have it any other way. To keep them from this moment would be an injustice.

Brides and Grooms are experiencing the joy of wanting to get on with it- to continue the separation from their parents- to make their own lives together. Surrounded by family and friends, in front of God and everybody they stand at an altar and promise to…well, you know.

It’s different being on this side of things. As a pastor, I have stood on the altar side with countless couples who were making their promises. I have had run-ins with photographers and now, videographers. It’s not a circus, you know, or it’s not supposed to be. One groom told me he wasn’t saying: “Till death do us part…” We were on the way out for the service. I said: “You’ll say it or we stop the ceremony right there.” He said it and as far as I know they’re still married happily.

I’ve been round and round with families about the music that’s allowed in a Christian wedding. A wedding is, like any worship service, a service that gives praise to God. It’s a worship service. So, all the romantic music in the world is not enough to give praise to God. I’ve been a part of weddings small and large and celebrated the beginning of life for so many.

But, it’s different from this side as daddy. It’s good; it’s just different. I’m practicing my one line: “Her mother and I do…” I think I’ve got it.

One last thing to remember: Jesus shows up at weddings. Remember John 2, Jesus shows up at a wedding at Cana of Galilee. Something goes wrong. It most always does. There are so many details. They are out of wine. Jesus has the servants draw water from the well. It’s not water; it’s wine. The host is complimented that he has saved the best until last.

John wants us to see that God has saved the best until last: Jesus. So, on Saturday, as we worship God and Frances moves on, I’ll look around the room at smiling faces and for the one who brings joy to all the important moments of our lives

Dave Nichols

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