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(Sue note: Brother Paul was special to so many people in our area. He was a loved man. His daughter, Patty, honors her precious daddy with a beautiful eulogy)
Written by Patty Padgett Poston (daughter, and “Peanuts” to her Daddy)
“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
“But He answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40. Daddy never gave those stones a chance to cry out in praise because his voice was forever praising and worshiping his Lord and Savior in word, deed, and song every opportunity he was given.
How can I write a eulogy about Daddy, without singing through some of it? I’ve been wrestling with this because I am like Moses, I am not an eloquent singer nor speaker, but here I am Lord. Daddy never called upon me to sing a solo, but on occasion in youth choir he would turn to the alto section and announce, “someone is singing a little too loud”, and look straight at me.
Ma Ma, the last chorus that you and Daddy sang together was, “It’s Amazing what praising can do. Alleluia, Alleluia. It’s amazing what praising can do…Alleluia. I don’t worry when things for wrong, Jesus fills my heart with a song. It’s amazing what praising for do. Alleluia.”
On Sunday, before God called Daddy home on Monday, I awoke early that morning with a song playing in my head that Daddy had sung as a solo many times throughout his career, entitled “His Will, Mine”. I sang the song in my head, and couldn’t stop crying.
I know now that the Holy Spirit was allowing me to see that He was bringing Daddy home to him.
I’ll only share the chorus of the song. “I place my life in the hands of God. Those hands so scared, now outstretched for me. Wherever it may be, over land, over sea. May thy will sublime. Oh, thou God divine, Be Mine.” I could hear Daddy singing this song, and I saw the outstretched, scared hands of Jesus bringing Daddy to Himself.
My Daddy had a servant’s heart, not only in his church work, and throughout the Magee community at large, but at home with his family as well. “Brother Paul” was a peace maker and wanted everyone to “get along”. He was quoted in a lifestyle segment of the Magee Courier many years ago as saying that he had been blessed with the ability to “get along”, and added that was the way it ought to be. “If we’re trying to serve the Lord, we’re supposed to get along.”
His commitment to the Lord was steadfast and unchanging, whatever troubles came his way. He never doubted that God would make a way where there seemed to be no way. He trusted God and he obeyed. Found within the pages of Daddy’s tattered bible were found his handwritten notes to assist him whenever asked to speak or give his testimony. Among those notes were the words “Lord leading, housing project, envelope with money. I knew the meaning of those notes having heard his testimony many times. Daddy always said that the three things that had contributed to his success were, “God’s guidance, his wife’s support, and his love for people”. He shared the stories of living in the housing project in Picayune MS when his family was young and money was scarce, and how at different times cash money would appear in an envelope in the mailbox. He never wavered that God would provide.
Daddy wanted everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and His power to transform lives. A frequent saying of his was the question, “Are you prepared to live, when you die?”
He was bold and unapologetic when it came to sharing his faith. On one occasion many years ago, he decided to share with a man who was drunk in front of the Piggly Wiggly. This time it resulted in the man pointing a loaded gun at this face and telling him in expletives that he better shut up and leave.
Although Daddy was noticeably shaken by the incident, I believe if God led him, he would do the same again.
Daddy was a fit athlete, and he understood the rigors of training for competition in preparation for a contest. He applied that same consistent discipline to his life long walk of faith. This did not mean that he did not become discouraged at times. But rather than worry and be filled with despair, he prepared for the battle with the armor of God, holding fast to His promise that He would never leave him nor forsake him, and that he would go before him and be his Defender.
Daddy never wanted to draw attention to himself and his accomplishments. Instead he would always want to know how the other person was doing and what was going on in their lives. The question “what about me” never passed his lips. His focus was always “others”, and he was quick to point others to his Source in life, and he was humbled by any praise that came his way.
Comments posted and spoken describing Daddy within the past couple of days have included:
“He was precious, kind, compassionate. Enthusiastic and a cheerleader. Loved unconditionally. Encouraged others by his own example. A man of Joy with a “Jesus Smile” ( Mona Magee Williamson always said this when she would visit Daddy and mother at their home).
“He was always singing!”
A high school friend who works at Walmart recently asked me,” Where is your Daddy, Brother Paul? We haven’t seen him in a while and we miss him. He would always come in and cheer everyone up.”
Daddy had a heart of gratitude always…always. When he struggled at the end of his life, he still always thanked anyone over and beyond for helping him. I will always hear his voice and see him looking at me and saying, “Thank you Patty”, when I offered even the smallest kindness toward him.
I’m convinced that the best tribute we can give to such a man is to practice the life he lived which was Love in Action. It may sound cliché’, but the letters in the word JOY, for Daddy, stood for Jesus, Others, and You, in that order. Whatever he did, his purpose was to point others to Jesus, and he calls for us to do the same.
Grieving will most definitely come later, trying to find our way without his guidance and influence, and presence in our lives.
I will miss Daddy’s laugh, especially when my brother Paul, (Bubby), would be carrying on with a funny story, and we would think that Daddy wasn’t really listening, only to hear his hearty laughter later. Because of a personal time recently on Father’s Day laughing with Daddy, the phrase “Gone with the Wind” will forever bring tears and laughter to me, remembering that was probably one of the last times I heard Daddy laugh that much. My brother Bubby was really the only one that could get Daddy smiling and laughing the last two years of his life. They were not only father and son, but intimate friends and “buddies”. My brother called him “Pops”, and Daddy, with some direction from Bubby, would call him, “my favorite number one son”.
I will miss Saturday College Gameday football, and Daddy explaining to me the complicated rules of football, and why “he was holding, and now there’s a penalty, but we are declining the penalty, and the ball is still on the forty-yard line.” He loved sports and I so loved watching sports with him.
Daddy was a scratch golfer and had a natural ability to play golf. He did not get to play that often, but when he did, he was just naturally good. His last played tournament, where he and his group won, was at the Okatoma Golf June Scramble in 2014.
Lastly, I will miss Daddy’s prayers, always from his heart of a sinner saved by grace, and forever grateful for His love, provision for his family, and His sacrifice on the cross to provide for us eternal life with Him.
In closing, the chorus of Share His Love, has been on my heart and mind, so I believe that is what Daddy would want.
Share His Love, by telling what the Lord has done for you,
Share His Love, by sharing of your faith,
And show the world that Jesus Christ is real to you,
Every moment…every day.