For all of us, at some time, we will come to the end our lives. What will be remembered? Accomplishments? Fame? Wealth? Or will they remember the times you made a difference in their life and in the lives of others? That is what we will remember most about Lacy; his smiles, his humor and his encouragement.
One of the missions of Hospice is to help patient and family avoid the obvious ‘death-elephant’ in the room, and to talk at ease with each other about hopes and dreams and regrets and wishes – to make the last days as fulfilling and comfortable as possible –to tie up loose ends. Lacy, being Lacy, began to do this on his own without the help of Hospice. He had his list of to-do’s and was actively pursuing them. And he talked openly about faith and questions and his past-the-due-date amount of time allotted to mankind (three-score and ten).
He was so proud of the letter Amy sent him and the e-mail from Wendell. I told him, “Well, I guess I need to write you a letter.” His bold reply, “Yes, you do!” Although I have no regrets for not penning it sooner, I guess this is my letter to him.
Jerre used three words to describe Lacy: provider, protector and teacher. I am sure you have your own special expression of who he was to you.
He was an entrepreneur and inventor. Years ago, in his burnt-orange truck, he stopped by the house one day with a magazine in hand to show me an innovative bridge-building devise he had invented. I read the advertisement again and again and did not see his name anywhere. He said, “That was my idea, they just beat me to it.” There is a current display at the Mayborn Center of Leonardo DiVinci’s before-his-time invention ideas.
Lacy was always going forward: in more ways than the idiocies of his truck. Not only did he found his own construction company, but even when he worked for someone else, he still was his own boss. He always had some kind of a pyramid scheme and all too often, he got me involved. (You too?) He had me help him develop and write up plans for “My Brother’s Keeper” – a pyramid method to get rich while giving your money away.
The other word I might assign to him is agitator, except I think it was unwitting. In his openness and honesty and being real, he often came across as brash that could provoke you to anger or reduce you to tears. But you always knew where you stood with him. I appreciate that. What appeared to be criticism, I think was his unpolished attempt to prod you to live up to your full potential. Lacy had faith in God, faith in himself, faith in humanity and faith in each of you.
In his own way, Lacy was a nurturing parent. He gave me good advice when Melinda was a child and I wanted her to change from her favorite, although faded, dress before we went somewhere. Pointing his finger at me, he said, “If she feels pretty in that dress, you let her wear it.” I did.
When Aunt Erma was nearing the end of her life, Melinda and John paid the airfare for me to go visit her. Although I was quite capable of going alone, Melinda insisted I not go by myself. Lacy became my chaperone and I am so thankful we had that bonding time together. In the long flight and lay-over and drive from Blacksburg, VA to the WV farm (we worked in a visit to Clyde and Rosie), he regaled me with far-fetched adventure tales. Late in the day he leaned back and asked, “Did I ever tell you my bull story?”
My query to him was, “And just exactly what were these others tales?” (Seems he taunted a bull like a matador and barely escaped with his life.)
Lacy is one-of-a kind. He is much loved and will be greatly missed. His legacy is long and strong through his children and grandchildren.
Henriette Meyers said, “For every sigh, there is a Psalm.” The majority of the Psalms were written by David the Shepherd boy. In the open field he had time to think and question and reason, as are reflected in the poems he wrote. Maybe the same was true of Lacy. He had many questions about faith.
He said, “You know there are a lot of things that I just don’t believe. I am not sure I believe there was a world-wide floor or an ark big enough to hold all the animals.”
I told him that from my understanding the only critical believes for eternal life was faith in God and Jesus as his son, born of a virgin, died and resurrected as our Savior. He readily proclaimed his faith and friendship with Jesus.
“Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” Mark 9:24
He told me he had been involved in church and worked on committees, but was concerned that he had not confessed his faith to others. I told him that works of them self does not save a person but the attitude of the heart in which they are performed. And I reminded him of the words of James, sometimes called “the apostle in work boots”.
“So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it… I say that without good works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.” James 2:14-18 MD paraphrased
Lacy did not quote Scriptures, but he lived it. As John Wesley said, “Preach the gospel always. Sometimes use words."
Amid David’s questioning, he came to an amicable conclusion. I think Lacy did too.
"But as for me… when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied." Psalm 17:15
Jerre asked that we end our time together today by all singing Will the Circle be Unbroken, another of Lacy’s songs. Copies are in your handout. I have modified it to fit this service and Gary Moore added the sixth verse.
Will the Circle be Unbroken
1) I was standing by my window on one sad and lonely day
When I sensed death angel calling for to carry my loved one away
Chorus: Will the circle be unbroken by and by, Lord, by and by.
There's a better home awaiting in the sky, Lord, in the sky.
2) Well, I told the undertaker, “Undertaker please drive slow,
For the loved one you are taking,” Lord, I hate to see him go.
3) I will follow close behind him, try to hold on and be brave.
But I could not hide my sorrow, when they laid him in the grave
4) When I went home, it was lonely, missed my loved one, he was gone.
All my family, neighbors crying, how we hurt to see him go.
5) We sang the songs of childhood, hymns of faith that made us strong.
Ones that Lacy loved to listen and the angels sang along.
6) We are standing in the circle, of a family that is blest,
With fond memories and dedication, we lay Vera and Lacy to rest.
Chorus: Will the circle be unbroken by and by, Lord, by and by.
Written by: Franks, Tillman/Houston, Davie/Sherrill, Billy
Modified by Mona Dunkin for Lacy’s service
Verse six written by Gary Moore
We are comforted that the circle will be unbroken. Regardless of when the passage, and at what age – mother and daddy, Lacy, baby Joshua. One day we will be together again.
At Lacy’s funeral service, the 23rd Psalm was read twice. At the beginning, it was presented in the traditional way to comfort us with the promise of safe passage for our loved one. At the ending, it was read again as comfort for the family. When we, who are alive and remain, experience the death of a dear one, the Shepherd is there with us, with His rod and staff to comfort and lead, and to protect us from the enemy that would destroy.
I will end with the prayer our Pastor gave Sunday morning. “Father, we pray your blessings on the family of Lacy Williams. With joy they release him to you, and with sorrow they relinquish him from being with them.”