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August 29, 2012 / Pastor George Fike

The Power of a Legacy…


A bright day in 1996, my family gathered at McLain Cemetery in southern Mississippi to lay my mother to rest.  She had completed a difficult journey, battling breast cancer for 2 years.  It was the second time I had ever been to the cemetery, the first having been 35 years or so earlier.  At that time after a vacation spent with my mom’s parents in Leakesville MS, my dad had stopped the car at the McLain Cemetery on the way back north to our home in Cleveland MS, and got out and knelt beside a grave in silence.  At the time I didn’t realize it was his father’s grave; it seemed sad.. but serene.

That gravesite reappeared in a recurring dream I had in my adulthood.  After I had turned 40, I would awaken at night from a dream: my father and I were standing beside an open grave, neither of us speaking but were aware of the other’s presence.  As ominous as that seems, the scene was actually fairly peaceful.  I began to wonder if one of us were only present in spirit.  But which one?  I had noticed some changes in my body and my perceptions (welcome to 40!), so I began to undergo tests.  But – phew! – everything checked out ok.

Then we got a call.  My mom’s cancer had returned.  Having already undergone the ordeal of a year-and-a-half of radiation and chemo for a short-lived remission, my mom decided enough was enough.  After a short few months, she left for a more enduring home in the summer of ’96.

Standing beside my dad at the cemetery, I thought the premonition was fulfilled.  My dream had prepared me for this moment.  As a pastor, I had stood beside many a grieving husband, father, and son as they bade farewell to a loved one.  This was finally a reality for me.  Looking about the cemetery, I saw my uncle Archie’s grave, then my aunt Bea’s.  My eye caught the large monument in the center of the family plot.  My grandfather had donated the land for this city cemetery many years ago.  For that, he was allotted a large area for his large family.  The large monument listed the children of Willie E and Lela D Fike – my dad’s name as well my 10 aunts’ and uncles’ were inscribed – some misspelled.  That amused me.  As I rounded the stone, my smile vanished as I saw a simple statement inscribed on the reverse:

The family of Willie E Fike

Their hearts to God

Their hands to men

That explained a lot.  Why two of us boys had chosen the ministry.  Why my sister chose a minister for a husband.  Why five of us had become teachers at one time or other. Why we had continued to walk with God and serve his people.

I stood beside my dad that day, with my brothers and sisters, proud to be a part of a heritage that had come to us from our grandfather.  A legacy that has become my north star.  I’ll have more to say about this legacy, and how my father kept it alive for me, in my next blog.   In the meantime, enjoy the video below.  I prepared it for a Father’s Day service a couple of years ago.

 

This is our Prayer written and performed by my somehow-related cousin, Richie Fike, and his lovely wife Dana. Click the album to find it on iTunes.

 


br fike family

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Sharon (Fike) Carlton / Aug 29 2012 3:15 PM

    Great job, brother. It is quite a legacy. May we all be true to it.

  2. Al Fike / Aug 30 2012 11:32 AM

    LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!! The video is super! Thank you for Sharon, I mean sharing. Well, her, too. LOL

  3. PAMELA FIKE TAYLOR / Aug 30 2012 12:34 PM

    George, this video and the words you wrote were wonderful! I think this is why we all serve the Lord in one way or another and why we continue the Family Tradition of having our “Fike Family Reunions” in June of EVERY single year. A tradition that has carried on for as long as I can remember and you know I am the OLDEST of the grandaughters!! This is truly a testimony of how we were all brought up in Christian homes. Thank you so much for sharing. LOVE IT AND LOVE YOU!!

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