On May 9, 2011 Dee's ministry at Berea First Baptist Church came to an end and our family began the "Unexpected Adventure" of building a bridge to a new future. Through this blog, we invite you to share this journey with us.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Chance to Share

Sunday night, I led a worship service that I called "My Story--My Song."  In that hour, I sang a few songs that I've written and others I just love to sing and shared stories of times that God has made Himself very real to me.  The congregation was made up of folks from several churches, friends we've known and loved along the way.  Seeing who was there was both a joyful reunion and, in some ways, a sad reminder of the pain of recent months.  During the service, we laughed and cried and worshiped.  The most meaningful moment of the evening for me was the chance to share a song that I wrote about my dad's life and death, "You Guide My Way."  I rehearsed that song pretty calmly while alone at home, but choked back tears when I shared it with others.  The joy of being loved and the pain of grief are timeless in the human heart, at least they seem to be in mine.  One gentleman who attended wrote me to say that he had known "Dr. Vaughan" for a while, but had the chance to get to know "Dee" Sunday night.  I'm glad that he did.  I'm very blessed to have people in my life who will listen lovingly to my stories and my songs.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You're Invited

Thirty Years, But Not a Day

September 14 marked thirty years that my father has been gone from this world.  I saw that milestone in my mind, off and on throughout that day.  As is always true for those who grieve, my feelings were mixed.  I was saddened by all of the good things that dad was not here to see and share with me in the past three decades.  He didn't see any of his children married.  He didn't get to hold a grandchild.  He didn't hear me preach as a pastor.  I sorted through the confusing ideas of what God allows those in heaven to know and what they don't know.  I come to a joyful moment and think "it wouldn't be heaven if dad doesn't know about this."  Then, in a heartbreaking time, I think "it wouldn't be heaven if he had to know about this."  

My strongest feeling on that milestone day was how much my father is alive in me.  Though he has not walked this earth since 1981, I have not lived a single day that he has not been with me.  The memories are good.  The lessons are truth.  The example is faithful.  I am blessed.  I stayed up late that night and wrote down some of my thoughts about my father's absence and presence for the past thirty years.  I hope that these words will one day grow up to be a song.  

Though you've been gone so many years
I have never walked alone.
Your strength and wisdom 
go with me each day.

And though I've cried so many tears
Still my heart is filled with joy
for a father's love that ever guides my way.  

Remembering and Giving Thanks,

Orin's Boy

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sometimes the Dog Has the Last Barf

Saturday night, our family was packing for our early Sunday morning trip to Monetta for Liam's dedication service.  Suddenly, Linda and I realized that we had made no plans for the care of our dogs.  Half serious, and knowing that I would get a strong reaction from Linda, I suggested that we put plenty of food and water in the garage and leave them cooped up for a few days.  Linda, a lifetime dog lover, assumed the role of defense attorney, and gave me a list of reasons why we couldn't leave our little dogs behind.  As planned, I relented, but didn't realize how closely the dogs had been listening.  Winston, riding in the back seat on the way to Monetta, suffered from an upset stomach and, well, barfed all over my suit coat hanging in the back and my tie that was inside the coat.  Talk about holding a "garage." When we arrived in Monetta, I had only one suit and only a few minutes to get the coating off of my coat and remove the new puke pattern from the the lower third of my tie.  This story has no lofty moral to teach.  I offer it simply to make an observation.  You may think that you're the master of your dogs, but sometimes they get the last barf!

Dedication Day

I had the honor and joy of leading the dedication service of my grandson, Liam, at Bethel Baptist Church in Monetta, SC, on Sunday, September 4.  Let me share the thoughts I wrote for the occasion.    

This is such a happy and holy moment for our family and, I know, for this church family. 

I am Elizabeth’s father, Josh’s father-in-law, Linda’s husband, Andrew’s dad, but most of all today I am Liam’s Papa Dee. 

We’re here today to celebrate a miracle, to thank God for the life of Joshua Liam Davison and dedicate him to God. 

In truth, we’re here to dedicate ourselves to the holy work of teaching Liam to love God and live for Him, to “train up this child in the way he should go, so that when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

As we take this sacred step together, I want to speak first to Joshua and Elizabeth as Liam’s parents, then to those of us who are blessed to be a part of Liam’s extended family, and then to all of you who will be his church family.  All of us have a part to play in the unfolding miracle of his life. 

Joshua and Elizabeth, I can still remember the night that you called to tell Linda and me that you had a child on the way.  I was upstairs in our home working at the computer.  When I heard the news, I froze for a long long time.  But now, here you are, parents.  Liam will learn more from you than from any other people in this world.  You are his first teachers.  You are his first theologians.  You are his first coaches.  You are his first counselors. From you, he will learn how life works.  Both of you hold very important jobs, Elizabeth as a teacher, a shaper of young lives, and Josh as a pastor, a shepherd of God’s flock.  But other than the call to follow Jesus and to be faithful to each other, loving Liam is your highest and holiest calling. 

So I ask you, “Will you strive to be the parents that God calls you to be?  Will you show the love of Jesus in your words and your ways?  Will you worship Christ in this church-house and in your house? Will you raise this beautiful boy in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, praying for the day when he will receive Christ as his Savior and follow Him as Lord?  If you will strive to be parents like this, say, “We will.” 

Family, we are here, beaming with pride and joy and thankful for God’s goodness that allows us to share our lives with Liam.  Each of us has a part to play in the unfolding miracle of his life.  If you will join me in pledging your prayers, your hands-on help, your wisdom, and your love to this child and his parents, say “We will.” 

Church family, you are called to continue the work of Jesus, to take little children into your arms and into your hearts, to teach them the scriptures and the songs, to show them Christ’s love and give them His blessing.  If you will promise to be God’s family to Liam and all of the children in your care, say “We will.” 

Let us seal these promises we’ve made in a moment of prayer.

A wise man has said that every baby brings the message that the world must go on.  Children are messengers of hope.  As we close this dedication service, let us sing and celebrate the hope that is ours because Jesus lives.  

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still, the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days because He lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!