Conversations Worth Having

by - November 05, 2011

The last few weeks...while no one was looking, more time passed. More wakes. More sleeps. More tears. More laughs. More work. More play. More travel. Less stillness. More conversations. More silence. More reading. More writing. More questions. More healing. Lots of more…

The window I’m looking out of as I write this is not the window of a train, or plane, or even a car (although I am committed to not write while driving) I’m looking out the window of the house in which I live. I am in pajamas, wrapped in my favorite quilt hand stitched by Haley Cobb Harmon, mother of Corky Harmon, father of Glenda Harmon Scully. It is what I would grab if this house was on fire. Ethiopian coffee in my cup with a little sugar-free hazelnut non-dairy creamer, Bluegrass music in the background, yesterday’s mascara still around my eyes, and this blog is taking a different direction than I anticipated.

I thought I would finally write about one of the many starts and stops of “blogs” I’ve had these past few weeks. I have found though, if it don’t come easy…better let it go. At least for the time being. Thoughts on hope, loneliness, and why people lose their belief and trust in who Jesus Christ is as they are further and further removed from the time they first believed. That’s a big-ole question that I’m not sure how to write about. But, it keeps coming up. It came up in my life and I had to address it one way or another. It also keeps coming up in my friends and in my work. The reasons are different for everyone though. Was it even real to begin with? Do they just get over it? Do they out-smart it? Do they get disappointed? Do they get disillusioned? Do they get deceived? Did they have misguided expectations of Him? Did He lie to them? Has He forgotten them? Is He just unnecessary? If you loved Jesus once, but don’t consider Him much anymore, deny Him now, or think He has left you...why? I don’t know if anyone would like to respond to any of that, but if any of that applies to you and you would like to respond…I would like to hear what you have to say. I can either respond or not, you tell me if you are making a statement or wanting to enter a conversation. I’ll respect it. Maybe you just want to get it out of your gut.

But back to Corky Harmon…because that is where this is going...

If this morning I were to walk into the home he and Granny B shared (and where she still keeps the fires burning) in Barnsdall, OK and I found him sitting in his center recliner in their massive couch-system with little built in tables and recliners and sleeper sofa, our time together would go something like this:

I open the screen door walk in as it slams behind me from the spring being wound too tight I guess and I put my purse down next to the book shelf that has my picture on it somewhere strung out with the rest of us who call them Granny and Pa, as I hear him say, “there’s my Hay,” and I answer “hi Pa.” After hugging Granny I would go sit by him and hold hands with him on the little table between his recliner and my section of the couch. Our hands would share the table with his rubber band ball, a coffee cup, his bible, his magnifying glass. He would ask me how things are in Texas and we would make some joke about it being fine if it weren’t for all the Texans. He would say “Sis how are they treatin’ you down at that job?” And I would detail for him how things were going. He would encourage me in some way about making them a good hand, and I would assure him I was trying, even as in my mind I would be thinking of things I could be doing better. We would talk about how good the Lord is to provide for us. He would tell me the story about how he paid off their mortgage in just a couple of years (for the eleventy-billionth time as a repeated story did not matter to him if the context was appropriate, I may or may not have this trait…my sweet momma certainly has it). He would then ask me if I was ready for a bowl of the stew we could smell coming from the kitchen. After lunch we would all get coffee and go to the porch to watch the world not pass by. On their little street in Barnsdall there is not a lot of the world to see. The gravel parking lot of the First Assembly of God church across the street, Phil and Jill’s place, Bobby and Sandy’s place, and maybe an older model Ford of some sort and a pick-up or two, 4 or 5 stray dogs, a couple of kids on bikes with or without shoes. Pa would know everyone of them though, and to some holler out something mouthy. He would know their parents. Their parent’s parents and whether or not any of them were worth their salt. I could listen to him talk for hours. I could sit on that porch and not watch the world for hours too. “That’s my Hay,” were the last words he said to me when Granny B asked him if he knew me just days before he passed away. Man he was a great Pa. I didn’t know I would write about him today, but as I’m wrapped in the blanket his momma made me many years before I was even thought of and named after her, Pa is on my mind.

Corky Harmon spent the vast majority of his life not knowing Christ as his Savior. He lived a good life though. He worked hard. People loved him and laughed with him. But, in the end those good memories would have been overwhelmed by an uncertainty. However, one day after nearly a lifetime, he finally allowed his own doubt and intellect to take a side seat to his heart’s longing for faith in God, after a man whose walk Pa respected came to drink coffee on the porch with him and led him to accept Jesus Christ. He had a few years after that to pour out the love that Christ poured into him. Everyone’s walk is different, but for Pa he did not have enough time to be distracted or deceived or disappointed or lose faith. If you ever truly believed who Jesus is…no matter how far your heart or mind goes from him…there will always be a conviction to be settled regarding him even though you successfully repress it. Because when you first accepted him as Savior, his word says the Holy Spirit was imparted into you, and though we get distracted and may forsake Him, He does not forsake us. He wants to be in relationship with us. He did not just save us from hell, but he saved us into new life. Pa fought believing for years, thankfully he had years to fight. Here are a few of my favorite old pictures of him…

Pa and his dog
Pa and his girl Bonnie
This is where I get some of whatever this is...

Pa and Grandma with their first six grandkids.  I'm the one in the kilt.

The faces from some of my best childhood memories.

I'm so thankful for every conversation I ever had with Pa.  And I am most thankful for the conversation Herman Forrest decided was worth having that Christmas Eve morning he got up, got in his pickup and drove to my grandparents house.  I'm so grateful for the courage and love that compelled him to say yes to the Holy Spirit that morning as he pulled into their driveway, and I'm sure after a little prayer, stepped out and started the conversation that began with the words "Mornin' Cork" and ended with Pa praying to accept Jesus as his Savior and Lord. 

Years later, Herman and Pa shared a room at the Barnsdall Nursing Home for a few days.  It's the room Pa passed away in shortly before Herman went home to be with the Lord.  I know heaven isn't like their front porch in Barnsdall (maybe), but I like to think Pa was standing at the gates to say "Mornin' Herman" when he arrived.  Then, knowing Pa, he would probably turn and say "Now Peter I know him, and..." 

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  1. Thanks Haley, from reading your blog, I got to spend a few minutes with my Dad. Miss hime more than I can say but like you my memories are very clear and my faith is very strong. One of these days we'll drink that cup of coffee on the porch again in a better time and better place.....can't wait.

  2. Haley, you have such a gift of the written word. This particular writing gives me hope and you know what I am talking about. It is never too late.

    I love you,
    Shari Halterman