Blessed Assurance

Blessed Assurance

Another dear friend lost his father this month and I was honored to experience the joyful celebration of his life.  Though I never actually met Ralph Jones, I knew him through his son and the family he raised.

Described as a Disciple, Prophet and Theologian, Mr. Jones was opinionated, according to each of those who addressed the audience.  His bold statements and passion for his perspective were rooted in his deep understanding of and appreciation for the words and ways of the Gospel.

Other accolades included being the backbone and glue of the family;   kind, committed, cheerful, reverent, helpful, loyal and loving.  They didn’t say it directly, but I am sure he was funny too, based on the sense of humor inherent in the service.

My friend spoke of his ‘daddy’ in reverence and respect, remembering the qualities and experiences he now emulates through his own life.  I saw no tears and no fears, even as my friend spoke of his deep love for and loss of his father.  He and the pastors painted a masterpiece as they portrayed the essence of Ralph’s spirit through stories and scripture.    By the end of the hour, we all had an incredible awareness and appreciation for the loving, living legacy Ralph Jones invested his life creating.

He leaves a loving wife, five siblings, four children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren, all who appear to absolutely adore him.  Mr. Jones was applauded for being an active participant in all extracurricular activities of his children, grandchildren and church, in addition to a 30 year career at Camp Lejeune and post retirement employment.  I was instantly inspired by the dedication and determination with which he honored and answered His calling.

Mrs. Jones introduced herself as’ the mamma’ with palpable pride and a positive spirit.   She oozed an uncanny aura of peace from her heart, without even a trace of a tear.   Many waited patiently for over an hour to communicate their compassion to the family.   It was well worth it to meet them all, and share the sense of celebration and appreciation they embodied for this powerful patriarch.

The funeral was on Friday night, about an hour away from the island.  As I was leaving I noticed it was raining, and I felt my anxiety spike as I approached my car.  I don’t see well at night or in the rain, and the combination has culminated in some unfortunate encounters.  As I drove down the dark rural road the intensity of rain increased, but surprisingly my anxiety did not.  I was captivated by the calm confidence I experienced in place of the panic I anticipated.

I felt protected and safe, as if the peace that surpassed all understanding, exuded by the entire Jones family had followed me home.  It was truly the Blessed Assurance we sang of as we joined our hearts and spirits in praise at the end of the service.  Sincere thanks, Ralph Jones, your loving legacy lives on.



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