Today we celebrated the life of my beloved Daddy, Mosie Lister, who passed from this life into the next at the age of 93. Here are a few words I was honored to share at his Home Going celebration:
Dad was a public figure, but to me and my sister, he was much more. He was our father who left us legacy of faith and values. Here’s a glimpse into that part of his life.
He gave us a love of books long before we could read. As we grew older, many of his afternoons were spent walking us to the neighborhood library, patiently wading with us through the vast sea of choices, and heartily endorsing the fine art of reading. This pleasure, along with piano practice, was probably the only thing that could be pressed into service to trump the doing the chores. I can’t even walk the dog in the cool of the day without visiting this memory. And I ache to go back there now.
Through our high school days, homework was priority, again, slightly ahead of chores. And we knew we had Carte Blanche to walk into his inner sanctum and ask for help. His reply was never “go look it up”, but “lets look it up”. We’d break out the old World Book or Britannica and peruse until the question was answered. Today, I go to Google, but it’s still the same. Do your research. Know you’re on solid ground.
He taught us biblical values. I remember distinctly an incident involving a birdhouse. He had hammered one together for us, we were maybe 10 years old, and invited us to paint it. Each was given a brush and a small container of paint. Now Dad was a good teacher, and spent some time showing us exactly how to dip the brush into the paint and how to spread it evenly, using the proper grip and wrist motion. He was actually very good at this. Anyhow, we each had our side to paint. I remember painting diligently on my side, and then took a break to inspect Brenda’s. I saw runs and drips. Not pretty. I made several snarky comments, and Dad walked over to inspect mine. He quoted Jesus’ admonition to remove the beam from your own eye before addressing the one in your sisters’. To my shame, the evidence was clear. Those drips and runs had invaded my own side, too. If you catch me being snarky, remind me, okay?
Our Daddy had a kind and gentle spirit that could diffuse tension, and put teenage angst in its proper place. He had a humor that could ease the torture of early mornings -- instead of an alarm, we had an intentionally abrasive tenor rendition of “Wabash Cannonball”, complete with bone-shaking volume on an old Martin guitar. And through life’s storms, his faith held strong. Even as he breathed his last, I believe we saw in his wide-eyed wonder the unseen heavenly attendants prepared to usher him home. So I leave you with this reflection of his journey here, and his journey into eternity:
He had tasted life’s troubles. its pain and its glory
Yet seen no glory like this at the last--
the song of the angels, heaven’s morning light resplendent
earth’s boundaries lost in the past
For triumph will come when the battle is done
and midnight gives way to the dawn
Then to rise, bursting forth, to life evermore
Incorruptible, vibrant and strong.
We do not grieve as those who have no hope. We’ll see you, Daddy, on the other side.