Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Sentimental Journey

Back in the day..........waaaaaaaay back in the day there was a popular song called "Sentimental Journey." Those words and that tune popped into my head as I look forward to taking one of those sentimental journeys this week (D.V.). First, I'm headed to Jackson, MS, where my 90-year-old mother is in a nursing home and, most likely, is nearing the end of her life. My sister, who lives there, says she is going down a lot lately. Having been so far away for all the years of living in California this will definitely be a sentimental journey for it may be the last time I see my mother in this life. The time will be bittersweet, as always, because it has been several years since she has been able to communicate in any meaningful way with us. The last time I was there for a couple of days, earlier this year, she didn't even know I was there, at least, as far as I could tell. The stages and passages of life are bittersweet. I pray and hope she will recognize me this time and know that I was with her.

After seeing her comes another sentimental journey when I travel to Tupelo (that's right, me and Elvis) where my high school class of '65 is having a 60th birthday party. This is the year we all turn the big 6-0. I'm really looking forward to seeing those folks, most of whom I haven't seen in decades. One of the neat things about that group is how much love for them I have after all these years of separation. Actually, we were a rather great graduating class, pardon the pride.

What amazes me, as I contemplate this journey, is how utterly stereotypical I am of the person preparing to go to a class reunion. I'm thinking I need to lose a few pounds and hopefully get to within 50 pounds of my graduation weight. 50 lbs.!!!!!!!!!!! And I've already started to worry about not recognizing folks. In my mind's eye, they all look as they did in high school. Of course, they won't recognize me either. This is really too much confession but I had a nightmare last night about not recognizing people. OK, build a bridge. For now, I'm clinging to the hope that I am nothing more or less than normal.

Sentimental journeys are good for the soul. God has taken me down paths I never would have imagined while a student at THS. It's good to look back on those "olden days" (as my kids call them) with fondness and appreciation for the ones with whom I shared them. My greatest regret is that I was not more of an example of a true follower of Christ then. Perhaps God will grant me the grace of being one now and perhaps God will grant them the grace of forgetting some of my faults from days gone by.


Merea said...

Dad, I am so glad you are blogging now. I love reading your blogs.

Even more glad that you are going to visit Grandma. I hope that you have a really sweet time with her, wish I could go.

Sophia LeMasurier said...

After reading " A Sentimental Journey"I got tears in my eyes. Being a mother I know without a doubt that she will recognize your voice even if she doesn't recognize your face. Please give her hugs and tell her how much you love her. Even though she will not respond the way you would like . I know with out a doubt her heart will be happy. So have a love party and you will make her so happy.showing love is the key. As it says in Romans 8:18, No matter what suffering you are going through today, tomorrow or the next day, always know that Jesus Christ is your answer, and He is your saving grace. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new but I just had to share. Also Is.40:29-31
Have a safe trip and God bless.
Just tell your mom that you are the
best in the west.Sophia

Anonymous said...


May I say “Greetings” from Illinois! It has been 4 years since Donna and I moved from our Cherry Valley home and FITP. Just read your Blog (Sentimental Journey). It was enjoyed by all back here.

This past week, I was taken on an unexpected Sentimental Journey myself. As I was going through the door of the Emergency Room at a local hospital (fell playing horseshoes during a family picnic here at the lake and tore my rotary cuff), a striking young gentleman stopped me. “Excuse me” he said, “Aren’t you an Isbell?”.

“Yes sir.” I replied.

“You look just like your mother, Victoria.” he said with a wide smile. Then I thought this must be the doctor that was my mother’s. I met this fine doctor on two occasions many years ago. Once at his office with my mother and the last time was at Visitation at my mother’s funeral.

The doctor spoke words that only very few people know. “Your mother was the richest person I have ever known.” Mom was one so poor in material things but rich in Jesus. She married at the age of 13 and had 13 children. She didn’t have a diamond to her name but saw beautiful gems that Jesus gave her in every snowflake that would fall.

“I can still hear your mother, Victoria, say, “Dr. Holden, I love you and Jesus loves you too.”” Then she would hand me a small piece of candy. His final words as he turned to leave were “What a lady!”.

Mom has been gone many years now but I still hear those words my mother shared I think with everyone she met......” I love you and Jesus loves you too.”, and then give what she had, by placing a small piece of candy in their hand.

Love from Don and Donna.

walter price said...


What a beautiful story. We sure miss you both here, especially with the new building starting. Keep us in your prayers.