My pastor was a great man! He loved the doctrine, he loved preachers, and he loved poetry! Brother Terry would read poetry to me when I would go to his house. For seven years his wife was bed ridden, and I would go as often as I could to sit with him. Most of the time it was one to two times a week.
When I got there he would reach over and take up one of the two books he used the most, we would settle in for the evening and he would read. He had this cute look that he used, he would look up to see if you were getting the meaning. He wanted to make sure you “caught” it.
There are many poems he would read, like “Maud Muller” by John Greenleaf Whitier. It is an incredible story of a judge riding down a country lane who stops to get a drink of water at the hand of a young maiden. He rides on but always remembers that moment. Both of them go through life wondering what might have been if they had married. It is from this poem the famous line is often quoted,
“the saddest words of tongue or pen, are simply these, it might have been”.
There were other poems he loved like “Curfew shall not ring tonight”, “The face on the barroom floor”, “The hell bound train”, “Casey at the bat” and the two sequels to “Casey”.
One poem he loved very much and used to help many people is called “Let it unfold”. He preached about it and so have others. The man who has made this poem most recognizable is Vaughn Morton. Vaughn Morton has preached a classic, unforgettable message using this poem entitled “Let it unfold”.
The poem speaks about just letting life unfold the way God unfolds a rose. Brother Terry would take people, mostly young preachers, out in his back yard and hand them a rosebud. He would insist you unfold the rosebud. As you tried you destroyed any chance of the rose ever reaching beauty or completeness.
Then Brother Terry wisely handed you a rose. Asked you to smell its fragrance, look at its beauty. And he would quote the poem.
I remember like it was yesterday the moment I stood in his backyard with broken pieces of a rose in one hand and a beautiful red rose in the other. With a tear in his eye, that old, wise mentor said…
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design,
But I cannot unfold the petals
with these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I,
The flower that God opens so sweetly,
Would in my hands would fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
Each moment of everyday
I’ll look to him for guidance
Each step of the Pilgrim way.
For the Pathway that lies before me,
My heavenly father knows:
I’ll trust him to unfold the moments,
Just as he unfolds the rose.
Thank you Brother Terry for one of my life’s greatest lessons.
Thanks for reading today!