Sunday, August 7, 2011

Betty June Dunn (March 29, 1926 - July 23, 2011)

As the song goes: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone…”

This is true with respect to those people whom God has placed strategically in each of our lives: beginning with our Mothers!

I am already experiencing a growing sense of loss as I recall my Mother, Betty Dunn. I realize more and more what a blessing she was to my life! Though her passing is such a great loss - deep inside, in my heart, her presence is still alive and well. Her kind and gracious words and the many truths she imparted to my young heart are still as fresh to me as when they were first shared.

My earliest recollections are of the sound of mom's sweet voice as she sang and read to me. I still hear all those wonderful bedtime stories that she used to teach the deeper truths of life and heart. From “The Little Match Girl” to Aesops Fables, Mom skillfully and wonderfully taught us the importance of cultivating qualities like caring, sharing, compassion, honesty, truthfulness and giving.

She not only taught them with her words, but she modeled them before us with her life.

Whether it was with her kind words, alms or her fine hand quilted pillows, my mother demonstrated to us that giving was not just a virtue to be cultivated, it was a way of life.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he’ll not depart from it” was my mother's adage. It has certainly been proven true in my life. The older I get, the more I return to those age old foundations - to those simple but profound eternal truths that my mother planted so many years ago in my young spirit.

Thanks Mom! I haven’t forgotten. I still remember!

I cannot speak highly enough of Godly mothers in general and mine in particular. Often it is true that you really don’t know what you've got til it is gone! Day by day my admiration and thankfulness for Betty June Dunn continues to grow as I recall all that she was.

As another song testifies, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” or in today's vernacular, MOMS RULE! Indeed they do!

Please hear me when I say:

"All you mom’s are important. You are more important than you know."

I received confirmation of this truth a number of years ago when I was asked to speak to a rather large congregation in Durham, North Carolina. I was asked to bring the message on Mothers Day Sunday! I must admit I was somewhat terrified at the prospect. I knew I was expected to preach a Mothers Day message but the more I prayed and studied, the more I came up blank! As the day approached, despite many hours of prayer and supplication, the "message" did not come. Over and over as I sought the Lord, only one thing came to my mind. It was a single scripture:

“I would that men everywhere would pray lifting holy hands without wrath or dissention.”

"What does praying men have to do with Mother’s Day, Lord?" I asked, but I heard not even a whisper. Heaven seemed uncomfortably silent and I felt increasingly anxious and uneasy.

Mothers Day arrived and although I had carefully crafted a message on the power of prayer and the need for men to pray, I knew that something vital was missing. Sunday morning, after a gracious introduction by pastor Z.D. Harris, I ascended to the pulpit. I was extremely insecure about this message I was soon to deliver. I began by readimg the text. Then I prayed a simple heartfelt prayer, "HELP"!!!!!

Then I began the sermon with; "God wants men to pray... because believing prayer is powerful in its effect."

Then, suddenly, I found myself departing from my prepared script as I blurted out:

“How many men here today in this congregation believe that they owe their salvation to a praying mother! Will you stand!"

As I waited with bated breath, I watched every man in the congregation rise to his feet and begin to applaud and give thanks.”

Then I heard myself say;

“Here’s your tribute Mothers! Look around you! You’ve done your job well! Here is the fruit of you labors! Happy Mother's Day!"

The entire congregation continued to clap and cheer these faithful women of God.

So today, as we remember the life of Betty June Dunn, my mom, I stand up and say:

“Mom this is your day. Here’s a tribute to a life well lived, from your greatful son, George!"

and it almost seems that somewhere in the background I hear His still small voice say to her:

"Well done Betty, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of thy Lord."

Welcome Home, Mom!

And all God's people said:


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Elton Dunn - August 6, 1925 - May 23, 2011

As part of my wife, Nancy’s histology training, she talks about having to be a deaner and assisting with autopsies at the Cleveland clinic. Nancy vividly remembers her first time assisting the medical examiner. She recounts that as she stared at the “person” lying on the table the pathologist came over and put his hand on her shoulder. “Obviously,” says Nancy, “He could see my nervousness.” Then the pathologist whispered in her ear, “Don’t worry Nancy, this is just the house the man lived in - but he’s not home any more.”

For we who are believers in Jesus Christ, the truth is not that the man is simply not home any more but that the man has truly gone home: home to where he truly belongs - in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As the scriptures attest, “Absent from the body present with the Lord.”

I am comforted to know that my dad, Elton Dunn, has indeed gone home!

For some reason, when I think of dad I also think of his father, my beloved Grandpa Roy. Whenever I think of myn grandpa Roy, I recall sitting next to him in church and hearing him sing, with great gusto, When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there. As I listen to the music, in my minds eye I see my father crossing the ramparts of glory and arriving on high. Then as I hear the name, Elton Dunn called out, I see dad raise his hand high, like a child in school as he shouts out, “Present”!

"Absent from the body present with the Lord!"

Welcome home Elton! Welcome home Dad!

Some years ago a survey was done of senior citizens. One of the questions asked was;

“What is your most precious possession?”

Want to guess the number one answer???


why? because photographs are about memories and our memories are indeed our most precious POSSESSIONS.

A number of times recently I have been blessed to go to the funeral home's web site and view the marvelous photo journal of dad and our family. Whenever I have lingered there, my mind has been flooded with images - sweet memories of “the Acts of Elton Dunn.”

Until we are reunited with those who have departed we have these precious photographs and our memories. This indeed is a precious gift which Dad has left behind, this gift of remembering. It is one gift that cannot be taken away.

Let us take time in the days ahead to remember all that Elton meant to those of us who were loved by and who loved him and let us share those precious memories with one another.