Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.



If you read yesterday’s blog, I mentioned I was going to a celebration of Gene Williams’s life. I went along with Dad, Jeffrey, Amy, Cindy and Deb–all the sibs who live in Oklahoma. (#4 was there in spirit)

I knew it would be a celebration, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Yes, I saw lots of friends, but that wasn’t what I enjoyed most. We got to visit and catch up on what was happening in the lives of lots of people, but that wasn’t it, either.

What I truly enjoyed was worshiping while surrounded by my family. We don’t get to do it often–Jeffrey goes to The ‘Ford to worship, Cindy to the church where her husband serves, Amy to the Baptist with her husband and Deb sings on our worship team and sits up front. (While I really enjoy the back.) 

So yesterday, singing with Deb on one side of me and Cindy on the other was a little bit like Heaven. They both sing beautifully, and what was funny was while they both sing alto or tenor, they never sang the same part.

I sing soprano. They couldn’t hear each other, but we sounded like a trio. Okay, maybe we could use a little practice 😉 but together we made a joyful noise! 

 The funeral had a full worship team. I couldn’t see some of my favorite people up there, but I heard my friend Junebug played the keyboard while holding her grandaughter.

Isn’t that a beautiful picture? A woman teaching her granddaughter to praise God before the child can even carry on a conversation?

She doesn’t only tell her, she shows her. I love it!

The part of the service I enjoyed most was when Marsha, Gene’s daughter, spoke. She touched the heart of everyone at the service, telling us of her father’s faith in God. How he rarely met a person without asking them if they knew Jesus.

When Gene was in college, he received an award from ROTC because he saved another man’s life. They were in a chemistry lab and somehow his lab partner caught fire. The guy panicked and started to run, but Gene stopped him and beat out the flame with his bare hands, saving the man’s life. When help came, Gene told them he was fine, but when he tried to open the door to leave, the skin on his palms came off and he collapsed.

His palms were tender after that, but because of that God gave him the gift of healing.  

She said they took him from the hospital to a healing service once, and while they were there, he prayed for the others, not himself. I don’t think that suprised anyone who knew him.

She told of their final communion together in his hospital room and of the scriptures they prayed over him. 2 Cor 5–the entire chapter, but  special verses stood out.

Verse 1, which talks about the earthly tent we live in and when we leave it, we have a heavenly house for eternity. And verse 8 where we’re told that Christians who are absent from the body are present with the Lord.

Speak at your own father’s funeral–even a celebration–can’t be easy, but she did a fantastic job. When I told her that, she said, “If I did, it was all God.”

My brother told Marsha about when he was a kid. He loves to hunt and as a teen, because our dad doesn’t hunt, he asked Gene if he’d take him some time. Gene took Jeffrey several times, and for the rest of his life he’s been grateful.

I wonder if Gene ever knew how much he affected others’ lives?

I wonder if any of us realize how much we all affect the lives of others?

Sometimes, without knowing, we hurt them. More often, by asking God to work through us, we can help, support, encourage and love them.

And never cease to pray for them.

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

6 thoughts on “Celebrate

  1. Susan, This is a beautiful tribute to a man who loved the Lord. Thanks for sharing! 😉

  2. Sounds like a wonderful service for a wonderful man. My sympathies to everyone who loved him.

    • It really was, Marilyn. I read in the paper that he and another man had started a manufacturing business when the Munsingwear plant in Hominy closed to create jobs for all the people who’d lost them.
      Many layers to this great guy. I’m glad I knew him.

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