Journey Home

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Two days ago I traveled home to the Autumn woods of East Texas. There we celebrated the life and final home-going of my brother-in-law.

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Color left the trees and bled into the sky as we turned south to head home.



City lights and sights say “welcome home.”




“Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.”

Herman Melville





Lichen growing on the gravestone of Opal and Howard Teal, Bullard, Texas

“…their wake reaches us, rocks us.”   ~ Denise Levertov

When I visit the graves of my parents, I am not visiting them, I am remembering them, along with many other family members.  In the Bullard, Texas cemetery are graves belonging to a number of aunts, uncles, maternal and paternal grandparents and even great grand parents. Lichen spreads and clings to the stones and reminds  me of the spreading and clinging of their stories in  my life.  As the poet quoted above suggests, their “wake” reaches and rocks” me.   I have  been cradled in their love and faith. I remember.  Without opening a single page of written family history, I thank God for lives lived, names that roll easily off my tongue.

Opal and HOward Teal

Veda and Woodrow Teal

Clyde and Ky Terrell

Ida and Tom Teal

Edna and Leo Warnick

Lela and Dewey Kirkpatrick

Wayne Kirkpatirick

Earnestine Matilde Curley

John Wesley and Elen Terrell

Vinnon Grady Terrell

Alice Stripling

plus many others whose names and stories I know even though I may not bring them to my mind at this moment, some who lived and died before I was born!


For All the Saints (1864)

For all the saints who from their labor rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine.
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia.

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

William How



open the garden gate

come sit while we talk,

receiving the gift of each other

“While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because out neighbors are so many.”   —Lady Bird Johnson

Tonight is National NIght Out, a time when we are encouraged to get together on our street or in our neighborhood.  There will be a gathering near us. I would like to know my neighbors better. I need to know my neighbors better. Because all of us are so busy with our own family’s schedule, it becomes an act of mindfulness and will to take the steps that make that possible.

“We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another… There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.”  Henri J. Nouwen,  Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith