Hello everyone. Join me for a lunting will you? Many things have happened over the past holiday week and it gives me a moment for pause. As I pack my pipe with “It’s not pumpkin spice” in this beautiful pipe that I was recently gifted by my good friend Jeff Putnam, my mind begins to wonder back on the week. If you read my last lunting article you will know that this is the moment my mind begins to process. Packing and prepping the pipe is part of the ritual after all.
Lighting the pipe, tasting the tobacco and smelling the aroma as the smoke swirls around my head, started me to thinking about the first day on my holiday vacation. My wife and I took the kids to the North Carolina zoo in Asheboro. Watching my 5-year-old run around, with pure joy and excitement on her face. From animal to animal, she smiled so brightly, eyes lighting up. Man, it doesn’t get better than this.
As I stop at the end of my driveway to wait for a car to pass by a smile crosses my face. Matthew 18:3 “And said, Verily I say to you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Smoke dancing out of my pipe, the thought of this amazes me. This pure love and joy that I watched in my daughter, this is what God wants from us and for us. I begin to ponder just how attainable is this for most adults these days. What is it that gets us excited, to the point that pure happiness just radiates from us, filling our environment and those around us.
Continuing down the road on my walk, giving an extra few quick puffs to get the tobacco ember burning good again, I waved at my neighbor sitting on her porch a few houses up. Mrs. Jones (not her real name) is 97 years old. She has lived the past 30 years alone since her husband died. She waves me over and hands me a couple of dollar general brand oreo cookies, I hate these things, but who’s going to tell Mrs. Jone’s no? You take the cookie and you thank her. 1 Timothy 5:3 says “Honor widows that are widows indeed.” She tells me how much she loves it when I walk by, the smell of my pipe reminds her of her father, it’s her memory trigger for her, and she always smiles so warmly.
I tamper down my tobacco and give my pipe a second light as I’m walking away, and my mind begins to drift back to Thanksgiving Day. My mother-in-law informed my wife and I that she had 3 to 6 months to live. She is 52 years old. It boggles my mind how some people get 100 years on earth and some get 50. It’s all in God’s hands. I firmly believe that we are here to do God’s will, and that if we are working for God, he will not take us home until we are done with His work. I think God’s purpose for Mrs. Jones is to be my reminder, of how simple life can be and how we can enjoy every moment that we allow ourselves to enjoy.
Heading back home as the crickets begin coming to life and mumbling under my breath about it getting dark so early, a cold wind starts blowing in from the North. This is probably more common in other parts of the country, but South Mississippi stays warm year-round. Average high in January is mid-60’s. Be jealous. I pull out my phone, temperature has dropped 10 degrees in just a few minutes and a shiver runs through me. I’m in shorts and a t-shirt.
As I turn down my driveway, I take a moment in the dark to look at the Christmas lights from neighboring houses and the one lining my own ¼ mile long driveway and I smile. As my pipe grows cold, my heart grows warmer. Life is pretty good. Even on the bad days, if you wear a smile in your heart, and become as little children, the bad isn’t that bad. Tucking my pipe into my back pocket I open the front door and all I hear is DADDY!!! Man, it doesn’t get any better than this.