Tag Archives: uncle

The Last Word

A few days ago as I was driving, I noticed a sign posted on the front lawn of a church which read “God Has The Last Word”.  My first thought was “I wonder what they are trying to convey here?  Perhaps a reference to the fact the God has the power of Life and Death?”  Then I began thinking what those words really do mean.  Of course, the Creation as well as the cessation of Life are, in fact under the control of our Creator.  But these words “God Has The Last Word” go so much further than this, if one takes a moment to really think about it.

One example that comes to my mind was when the doctors told my uncle he would never walk again.  He had cancer more than once and the chemotherapy treatments destroyed over 80% of the nerves in his legs.  So obviously, the brain could send the signals telling the legs to move but to no avail because those signals were no longer being received by those legs. There was little to no feeling there.  You could punch him in the leg and he would not feel it.  Well, I will tell you that a wise person would not tell my uncle, who was more my brother really, that he could not do something.  He rather impolitely told the doctors what they could do with their diagnosis and declared he would indeed walk again.  It took him over 2 years of self-therapy, over 2 years of standing up only to literally fall on his face in the living room of his home.  When this occurred (and it did often) he would weep tears of frustration, of anger and bitterness and then he would get up and try again. And fall again.  Finally came the day when he was able to, with a cane walk across the living room.  He wept again but this time in happiness and the satisfaction of a great accomplishment.  And when he walked, it was not a normal gait for the leg that carried some sensation had to compensate for the other leg which had none.  He always would say, “Hey, I’m not ready for the 100 hundred dash but I’m doin’ the best with what I have!”   I might add that this fine man walked for another 14 years before he was forced back into a wheelchair.  I was surprised when he broke the news to me that he would be unable to walk much longer.  You see, he had never told anyone that because of his irregular method of walking, he was slowly but steadily wearing down his hip to where it was bone against bone.  Those 14 years of walking which he bought literally by his sweat and pain and courage, all during those years he knew it was only a temporary victory.  That is how much he desired to walk once again.

“Well, that’s a moving story, to be sure!” you might say. “But it seems that your uncle was the one who had the last word”.  I suppose one could say that.  But Who was the One who gave him that stubborn, fighting spirit within that said “No! I will not let you win this one!”  You see my friends, God had the last word in that situation for He gave the gift of determination and tenaciousness to my uncle.  And because of this, Paul indeed had the last word within his heart.  The difference between him and so many others is that he chose to fight for the right and the choice of having his last word.

Does our Creator have the last word in all situations?  Of course He does.  Even on those occasions where God has been persuaded to change His mind on an issue (and that has happened), it is still He who changed His mind.  So, He simply changed the last word, as it were.  I suppose the point I was trying to make here this evening is that this whole idea of having the last word is really a matter of perception, is it not?  Perhaps having the last word is really nothing more than a concerted effort between God and ourselves.  God can do all things on His own but chooses to work through us which is really kind of great to realize.  What I mean is that since God is all-powerful and since He has the last word and since He chooses to do so through His children, we wield a degree of power. And that power used properly can change our world and all those in it.  Think about it.

I trust that what I was trying to get across was understandable or at least relatable. Sometimes what is clear in one’s mind does not translate well through the finger tips.  I thank you for muddling through this one with me and hope it blessed you in some fashion.  May your day be full and rich with joy.

William J. Thompson, Jr

Leave a comment

Filed under Midnight Musings

To My Other Brother….

I’ve been thinking much lately about one who was in my life, was a big part of my life actually.  His name was Paul Boyd.  He has been gone now for almost 3 years and I miss him still.  Nowadays I can go for 2 weeks or more sometimes without thinking about him.  And then, there he is in my mind and heart as if he never left.  Any who truly knew him were indeed privileged.  He had requested that whenever his day came to take leave of this world that I speak a few words at his memorial service.  And I most certainly did so.  There is not much I wouldn’t have done for him.  Again, Paul has been on my mind a great deal lately.  So, please don’t think me odd or even self-serving for posting here the eulogy I wrote for my good friend.  I do this to honor his memory for he was one of a kind, as they say.  But I also do this to bring a renewed awareness to all of us that we need to honor those we love each day and while they are yet living.  Life catches us and throws us about, forever running and forever busy, doesn’t it?  And because it does so, we tend to forget the significance of “now” in our lives.  Now is the time to give that one a hug and a kiss to show them you care.  Now is the time to make that phone call to that friend or loved one and let them know that they are on your mind and in your heart.  And no, I did not say that four letter word text!  There is no substitute for sound of the human voice.  My point here is remember the importance of now!  Tomorrow is too late for it is not promised us.

Now, what follows here was my attempt to capsulize a life in just so many words.  As you read these lines, think of those you have loved that had to take leave of this world as well.  Honor them in heart and if you need to, with your tears.

Saturday, 12 December, 2009

Paul had requested that I say a few words at his memorial service.  Words are meant to describe and in this case, encapsulate a person’s life.  Many words immediately come to mind when I think of Paul Boyd.  Strong, grounded, intelligent, sensible, reflective, tenacious, outspoken and determined are but a few of them.  One word which was not in Paul’s vocabulary was complacency.  He was always trying to move forward in his life.  I am sure that God (or “The Boss” as he always referred to Him as) has His hands full right now.  Paul is probably giving him suggestions right now on how things could be improved up there.  Or down here, for that matter.

There are other words that reflect Paul’s character as well.  Kind, compassionate,loyal, caring, tender, supportive, loving, empathetic and sensitive.  All of these words and the feelings attached to them were a large part of Paul.  I did not know him as a kid, not really.  He was just “Uncle Paul” to me.  I knew that he had a bad accident as a child and had fought his way through cancer a couple of times.  He was what Life refers to as “a tough customer”.  I admired him for that.  But other than that, I didn’t know Paul.  Not the real Paul Boyd.

Many years ago, Life stepped in as it sometimes does and I was given the opportunity to know Paul.  I was living in Westland and was unable to renew my lease out there.  Paul heard about this and ahold of me which wasn’t easy since I had no telephone then.  He told me I was welcome to move into his home on Hickory Street in Detroit.  Now, if he was standing here right now, he would tell you that he was a bit apprehensive about making this offer since he didn’t know me either.  Not really.  I accepted and that is how the close relationship I had with Paul began.  He helped me grow as a person.  And conversely, I helped him grow in different areas of his own life.  But, I think I got the bigger blessing out of the deal.  At that point in my life, I had never come across a person, outside of my immediate family who was more encouraging and supportive with regards to my personal growth.  He would always tell me “Thompson-ay, I’m on your side, no matter what!”  Now, so many people say things like that.  But where Paul was concerned, it was the gospel truth.  When he said that, he meant it, end of story.

Paul, or “PB” as I called him and I (he called me “EA” most of the time) spent a lot of time together.  We would have a few beers and solve the world’s problems, and all in one night, if you can believe that.  Many times one of us would say something funny or so incredibly dumb and we would laugh until laughter became physically painful.  And then we would laugh some more, each one begging the other to stop.  Those were good time, good memories.  I miss my friend.

I also watched as Paul grew into being a father to Kunga, Sawah and Bird.  You know them as Joe, Sara and Keri.  Paul poured his love and tenderness into these kids.  It was really something to see and I got to see it firsthand over the years.  He did his best to give them a good life.  He laughed with them, encouraged them and worried over them.  He really took them inside, you know?  And I cannot tell you how many times over the last few years that he told me how proud he was if each one of them.

You may have noticed I’ve made no mention of a wheelchair in these memories.  This is because to me, these was none.  Paul did not allow the hand he’d been dealt in this life to define who he was.  After getting to know Paul, you simply didn’t see a person in a wheelchair. You just saw a guy who sat down a lot.  Maybe that sounds far-fetched but it is true.

Was Paul a perfect human being?  No, of course not.  None of us are perfect.  Did he have his short-comings, his imperfections?  Yes, he did as do we all.  But it is important to remember that it is our imperfections combined with our strengths that brings out the best in us, that makes us who we are.

I apologize for going on and on here.  It’s just that the air is thick with my memories of Paul, sort of like a gentle, heavy rain.  I see his smile in my mind.  I hear his laugh in my heart.  I see his face before me often and I hear his voice.  It’s as if he is not really gone.  He was and is so much a part of me, of who I am.  I miss him a lot.

In short, I have been blessed to have more than one brother in this life.  By bloodline and by birth, Paul was my uncle.  But by association and by choice, he was my good friend and my brother.  For that I am truly grateful.  I love Paul and miss him.  This is probably not how a eulogy is supposed to go.  I just wanted to be certain that people knew the Paul Boyd that I knew and cared about.  He was one of a kind and that is the truth.

This was for PB from EA….

To those who read this, thank you for I know it was long.  God’s blessings be upon you and yours.  Share the love you’ve been given always.

William J. Thompson, Jr.

1 Comment

Filed under Midnight Musings