Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

May 18, 2003


May is the merry month for moving on to new adventures


            May is anything but merry for many of us. Instead it is a hectic time of transitions, endings and beginnings. This month feels a lot like a merry-go-round that is gaining momentum with each passing day. We want it to stop so we can get off and enjoy the summer.

            Trinity Methodist, my old church in Opelika, is losing two staff members who meant much to me during my stay there. Jimmy Allen and Norm Brunelle are moving on, Jimmy to Florida and Norm to Kentucky. That old song has come to mind: “They’re breaking up that old gang of mine.” The church will miss these fellows, and their families, but new servants will appear and the Lord’s work will continue.

            This is a time for weddings. Dean and I are in Demopolis this weekend where I am helping Andrea and Jesse tie the knot. Andrea, who is about to graduate from Auburn University, is the beautiful granddaughter of my longtime friends, Austin and Jane Caldwell. We will see many flowers, many tears, and many pretty girls in lovely dresses.

            Next month we will journey up to Guntersville to help with a wedding on the lake as Stuart and Laura exchange vows. Stuart, the son of our good friend Stan Rogers, has become a splendid young businessman since growing up in Opelika. Now working in Mississippi, Stuart hopes to move back to Alabama soon.

            Stuart’s mom, Kay, died of cancer not long ago, but I expect her to be leaning over the banisters of heaven and celebrating with us in spirit. Stan has been blessed with a new wife, Mickey, who has brought great joy to his life.

            This month I gasp a lot as I read the names of those who are graduating from high school and college. I have to pinch myself to believe that Natalie Bennett, Amanda Myers, Kevin Watts, Audrey Taylor, Tom Mitchell, Kenneth Rogers, and Brad Bodiford are finishing high school. I wish I could give each one of them a hug!

            As one of the Trinity pastors I saw many wonderful children grow up. Now three of those children have graduated from college! Kelly Darnell, Robert Thomas, and Matt O’Reilly are as fine as they come. What potential to make a difference each one has!

            I remember as though it were yesterday saying goodbye to my Mama and Daddy as I left home to begin college at Auburn. I was not wise enough then to understand the tears that clouded Daddy’s eyes and stained Mama’s cheeks.

            Today the Trinity church family will take truckloads of food out to the Leon Whatley farm in Beauregard for the traditional Galilean Picnic. The occasion will be tinged with sadness for many.

Missing will be both Leon and Emily, two of the dearest people I have ever known. What great hosts they were for this annual gathering! How I miss their smiles and kind embrace! One of my fondest memories is visiting this dear couple in their home and sharing the warmth of their gracious friendship.

May – the month of endings and beginnings. A time for fresh starts and new adventures. Helen Keller said it best: “If life is not an adventure, it is nothing!” Now is a good time for old codgers like me to wish the young well. To each one I humbly offer this advice:

“Go with God and enjoy life as an adventure. Find something to do that makes you come alive, and do it with all your heart. Drink deeply from life’s fountain of joy and peace.  Enjoy each day as a precious gift of God, for there are fewer of them remaining than you can possibly imagine now!

             “Sprinkle each day with laughter. Be faithful to your family and friends. Learn from your heartaches, and when you fall down, ask for grace to get up and go again. Refuse to whine or complain; enjoy the journey.  You may not realize it now, but you are actually going home, and one of God’s names is Home.” + + + +