“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
A great name indeed. A great man. This first part of this week was spent in Stearns, KY with my family to celebrate the life of a well loved man.
Let me take you back just a little bit-
This is a photo of the place my dad says he met Denzil. My dad was a child that came from a home that didn’t have much structure. You could call it a broken home. He was raised through grade school by his mother who had many children. By the time my dad was an adolescent she could no longer take care of her children. At that time my dad was in school where Denzil was the principal.
Denzil and Laura Jane had 5 boys when my dad came to live with him. Denzil and Laura Jane decided that my dad would be part of their family.
I’m convinced had there been no Denzil and Laura Jane there would be no me. You see Denzil and Laura Jane gave my dad food and shelter- but so much more. They gave him brothers, they gave him a glimpse of strong faith, they gave him a will to live, they gave him love.
I got to listen to two people speak about Denzil- some things I knew- like he was a man who the children loved and he was a man that walked with Jesus everyday. I also learned that he watched his first wife, Thelma, die of kidney failure and before that an infant son named Frank. Talk about a man of faith. They said that Denzil was a starter – but more importantly a finisher. And that if someone in his church voiced a concern and asked for a prayer Denzil would be found, after the services sitting with that person, praying with them or talking with them. I call that a gift. Some shy away from the worlds problems and don’t do service- that was not him.
I learned that the first thing Laura Jane said to Denzil was when she was walking into the doors of his beloved church was “Denzil King you’re going to be saved”.. and kept walking. Intrigued on how she knew he got to know her well and had faith to marry again and to start a family with her.
Here are those church doors of Denzil’s church:
I wanted to stand in the place they once stood. I know Leo and I have a love like Laura Jane and Denzil.
And so it was – their family of 7 took in my dad to make a family of 8. I heard the stories of feeding the mouths of 6 boys and the rowdiness that ensured. I learned that even though my dad was not born in their home the family still saw him as a part of them, always.
Six years ago- on a day in June I found out that I was expecting a little baby boy.
I looked over at Leo and said – I think I really want to name this baby Kingston. I know, I KNOW, that sounds weird to you- but there is this man- who raised my father- and he didn’t have to- and his kids treat my dad as their own brother– and he loves our family.
There was no doubt that Leo was ever going to be too picky about what we named our children. We have a mutual respect and trust that when we are set on something – it must be set in our heart- so we go for it, together. I think that’s called compromise- but to us it’s more a non verbal “I trust you”.
“Don’t worry,” I told Leo, “I know we will have another boy and I am going to name him Leo”.
So on that day 2/3/2011 Kingston Michael was born. He was a gift- a surprise- and down the road- the boy that saved my life.
I always feel like when you are really in tune with life- or what it might be- is what you are really walking in your faith- everyday- every minute- your eyes see things that can be overlooked by people who are not in step.
We took Kingston Michael down to the train station during the visitation to see if we could find a train. We weren’t getting out- it was rainy and wet. We pulled away not seeing any trains and I hear the sweetest “Oh darn”.. and then two clicks of his car seat (He was putting himself back in)…
I said to my mom “Lets go back and let them look for a few minutes”.
When we parked mom was right in front of this sign store:
And there I saw it-
K for King? Kingston?
Blue for my baby blue?
Was Denzil King telling me he was with us?
Everyone who takes Kingston to the train park knows he usually brings all the trains to the yard.
There was nothing different happening in Stearns, KY –
What did we see?
Two trains pass while we were there And a blue bird:
Sure fire signs that our loved ones are always with us.
As I mentioned earlier sometimes we only see the signs when we are walking in step with our faith… I know Denzil knew this.
Then there are times when we are stopped in our tracks and have our breath taken away. That happened on the way home from Denzil’s visitation. The rain stopped. It was late in the day. And my dad said “Look Stace a rainbow”.
I took photos while riding along. This week sure has been a tough one for our family.
When I saw that it was a full rainbow I asked my mom to stop someplace so I could take a photo.
It looks as if this Rainbow covered the whole town where two of my favorite men were raised.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
A good name. A good man. Thank you Denzil King for being a teacher to so many. Thank you for always listening to my dad. My dad said you were very wise but you always, always knew when to listen.
Some people live lives as teachers and by doing so they leave a legacy. Denzil surely has left a lasting impression on me- so much so that I named my first son after him and my father- a man- that stepped up and saw a boy that needed a family- took him in – gave him a home- and down the road inspired me to give my son a good name- because of his good name.
We love you, Denzil King. Thank you so, so much for you, for Laura Jane, for your sons, your daughter-in-laws- you whole beautiful family- they are kind and respectful- I promise to raise my babies in a way that you will be proud