Continued from One Forgiven
An Ancestral Tradition
“Mr. Grater,” a man called from the Customer Service Desk of that auto mechanic shop on that cold winter day in a Mid-Central suburb. A dark-haired, handsome man, perhaps in his thirties, then stood to his feet. Closing the book he was reading, he approached that desk.
“Your car is ready, Sir, all ready to take you through this winter comfortably,” the clerk said.
“Good,” Mr. Grater replied. “And what are the ‘damages'?” he asked, referring to the repair costs.
The clerk enumerated before Mr. Grater the list of repairs made to his car and then the cost. “The ‘damages,’ Sir, comes to one hundred sixty-seven dollars and forty-three cents, I’m afraid,” the clerk said.
Momentarily placing his book on the counter, Mr. Grater reached into his hip pocket for his wallet. The clerk took notice of that book placed on the counter – the Holy Bible with the initials imprinted on the cover “A.G., IV.” Handing the clerk two one hundred dollar bills, Mr. Grater said, “Here you go, and put the change in that jar, please,” he added pointing to a jar labeled Kidney Foundation. “It’s one of my grandfather’s wishes that I give to that organization as often as I have the opportunity and as much as possible.“
“Thank you, Sir,” the clerk acknowledged. “I’m sure they'll appreciate it, too.”
Having paid his bill and being handed the car keys, Mr. Grater then handed the clerk a small book, tract size. “This is something to remember me by, although not so much me as whom this book is all about,” Mr. Grater said. “It’s what the Bible is all about really,” he said as he picked up his Bible from the counter. “Giving this track to everybody I meet in my travels is something also handed down to me from my dad. It’s what my grandfather has started ever since he met the Author of the real life, who turned him around and changed his direction, having assured him that Elohim’s plans for him are for his welfare and not to harm him, plans to give him a hope and a future. Giving out these tracts is a way for me to carry on that tradition in my journeying throughout this land,
introducing the real life to all whom Elohim brings along my path. In my travels, I have met many people, each with an interesting story. Many, too, I’ve discovered the need to hear of Elohim’s story for them and of His concern for their eternal future.”
Mr. Grater departed that auto shop to continue his travels and his ancestral tradition.
A curious acquaintance indeed, thought the clerk, as he took notice of the title of that little book: Two Worlds Crossed My Path. Glancing out the window of that auto shop, he watched Mr. Grater drive away as the sun slowly slipped beyond the horizon.
The blue Suburban wound its way south down the country highway toward Southland, and that bed and breakfast inn the family knew so well. For that family riding in that SUV, now numbering eight, the parents and six children (a seventh on the way), headed for that country inn was like going home.
“Are we there yet, Daddy?” asked eight-year-old Jessi, waking from her nap.
“Almost, Darling,” smiled her dad, T.J. Melleson, glancing through the rearview mirror in answering his fourth child and presently his only daughter. She was surrounded by boys, three older and two younger. She had been praying a long time for a sister. Now perhaps her prayer would be answered with another baby on the way. Although her parents obviously loved all their children equally, even so, they wouldn’t mind having another daughter. Yet, even with modern technology where the parents could know the gender of the baby while still in the womb, T.J. and Cheryl Melleson chose not to know until the baby’s actual birth. The way they chose for their other six children, liking the element of surprise – of Elohim’s surprise and blessing.
“You’re eager to see if Carol-Lynne is there yet?” asked her twelve-year-old brother Timothy.
“Sure, wouldn’t you be if you were the only girl?” Jessi answered, perhaps a little sarcastically.
“Good point,” Timothy simply returned. “I hope we do get another sister. Then we’ll have two of you to tease.” Any teasing by her brothers is all in fun, though, which truly signifies their love for their sister. In actuality, being surrounded by so many “men,” she also was well protected from any harm.
“Mother, if you have another boy, can we give him away?” Jessi said.
“Jessi,” her mother began. “That’s not nice. I’m sure if you get another brother you’ll love him just as much as you love your other brothers.”
“Which isn’t very much at times,” Jessi said, glancing toward Timothy, but then added, “I’m just kidding. I love you Timothy, and Justin, Michael, Thomas and John, as well,” she said eyeing each one.
“Thank you, little sister,” all five brothers chimed in unison. “We love you, too.”
“When you’re asleep,” Timothy added, with a chuckle.
“We have such loving children, don’t we dear?” the mother said, turning to her husband.
“And lovely, too,” her husband simply responded while minding his driving around the curves on that two-lane road. He then suddenly spoke excitedly to his children, noticing a sign up ahead. “Children, look ahead!” All straightened up in their seats; all eyes turned forward. “We’re here,” the dad said. “Do you see that sign?” How could they miss it, a large billboard announcing, “GRAMMY’S COUNTRY INN – BED & BREAKFAST, WELCOME.” All beamed with joy, little Jessi couldn’t wait indeed to see if her cousin Carol-Lynne was there yet, as her brother, Timothy, had mentioned.
That Suburban slowly made that right turn into that graveled driveway and up the hill and around the curve toward that familiar log house. About fifty feet before the house another sign appeared, not as big:
GRAMMY’S COUNTRY INN,
Home of Thomas-John and Jessica Lynne Melleson
Serving our LORD Jesus with gladness and joy.
“I love seeing that sign,” T.J. said. “It’s what Sarah Lynne and I were taught, practically even before we were born.”
“Your home was definitely filled with love,” the mother said.
“As their parents raised them, as they told us, so they raised us, and that’s what I hope we’re doing with our children.”
“We certainly have a great pattern to follow – our parents and the biblical pattern,” Cheryl assured.
“Look, everybody,” T.J. said to his children. “Your Grammy and Granddad are there on the porch, just like they’ve been waiting for us.”
“Oh, my,” Cheryl suddenly said, “I hope they haven’t been waiting out there too long, in this cold.”
“My parents are strong and in good health, and notice how Dad has his arm around Mother,” T.J. responded. “As she would say, ‘she has his love to keep her warm.’”
“Well, yeah, but still…” at hearing her daughter wanting to say something, Cheryl paused momentarily to listen to her.
“Daddy,” Jessi began, “If grandmother is called Grammy, why don’t we call granddad ‘Grampy’?”
“I suppose you could, Honey,” T.J. chuckled, “Just as long as it doesn’t come out ‘grumpy’. He’s anything but that, you know.
“Look at them,” Cheryl then continued. “Your mother is so beautiful, even with her long flowing gray hair. And those blue eyes, and dimples. Oh, I’m jealous,” she said with a chuckle. “I wish I had those dimples.” Pausing, then continuing, turning to her husband, “Ah, that’s not coveting, is it?”
“Well, I don’t think so, but you got me,” her husband responded back to his wife, shining his blue eyes, “Isn’t that a good alternative? With both parents with bright blue eyes and Mother with those dimples, it’s no wonder Sarah Lynne and I have such, too.”
“Yes, you’re a very good alternative, Dear, even though your dimples aren’t quite like your mother’s,” Cheryl responded. “And will you also grow a mustache later in life as your dad has?”
“Only if you want me to, Sweetie. I don’t think he had it for long, though, only since his hair got grayer.”
“Bushy and gray, that’s what it has got to be,” his wife said chuckling, then speaking again of her mother-in-law. “Your mother sure is beautiful, slim, just like she hasn’t put on any weight all these years. Unlike me who can’t seem to take it off.”
“But Honey, your weight is understandable in your condition, and once the baby is born, as with the other six, you’ll have no problem with getting your weight down, I’m sure,” her husband responded.
That’s what you think. What woman isn’t concerned about her weight? Cheryl thought as the car pulled to a stop in front of the inn, all doors then opening with excited anticipation of meeting once again Grammy and Grandpa Melleson.
This December, the forty-third wedding anniversary of Thomas-John and Jessi Melleson, their children – Timothy-John (T.J.), their firstborn, and their daughter, Sarah Lynne, with their children – return home to celebrate this grand event with their parents, as well as Christmas. With Christmas extra special to Thomas-John and Jessi, as well as Thanksgiving, because such major events seemed to happen to them then, they chose a date in between the two holidays for their wedding after graduating from Bible College, for thanks giving and praise to that One who brought them together.
After Bible College they both taught public high school in the Mid-Central area, with always the intent of sharing their “surer foundation” among fellow teachers as well as their students, as Elohim had purposed for them, working for the restoration of the faith in their homeland according to the Founding Fathers’ original intent. After several years of teaching and with Elohim’s leading they relocated Jessi’s parents’ bed and breakfast inn from Mid-Central to Southland. There they welcome travelers not only with a hearty breakfast each morning but also with the love of Christ, even with a corner for “Grammy’s Bible reading times” for children of all ages, identified by that famed wingback chair and accompanying ottoman.
“Dad, Mother,” T.J. greeted his parents heartily with a hug and kiss and a bright smile. Everybody exchanged such hugs, kisses, and smiles upon exiting the car.
“T.J. and Cheryl,” responded Jessi, Thomas-John nodding. “Welcome. And all you lovely children.” Smiles spread all over everybody’s faces.
“Grammy,” little Jessi spoke up, as she couldn’t wait to ask, “Is Carol-Lynne here? I don’t see any other car except yours and ours. Aunt Sarah and Uncle Tom are not here yet?”
“Now you just go on inside,” Grammy Jessi beamed. “I think you just may be surprised.” Little Jessi peaked through that glass door, the entrance into the kitchen and dining area. “Your sister and Tom went into town to make some purchases,” Jessi spoke to her son. “They will be returning shortly, I should think. They’ve been gone for a while…”
“She’s here!” little Jessi screamed, as she entered the house, running toward her cousin, Carol-Lynne. What a beautiful child Carol-Lynne is! Born on Christmas Day, just a few weeks after her cousin little Jessi was born, to Thomas-John and Jessi’s daughter and son-in-law. She was given the name Carol for the carols sung on that special day in praise to Elohim for their special gift, the name Lynne, obviously, after both her mother and grandmother’s middle name.
“I think we should all go inside,” Thomas-John suggested. “It’s getting pretty cold out here, as the temperature seems to be dropping even lower.”
“But no snow, Dad?”
“Sorry, Son. Not yet anyway. Oh, we did have had a little snow before you all arrived, however, but it’s practically all gone now, as you can see, except in some hidden areas somewhere where the sun can’t get to it.” Turning to his grandsons, Thomas-John then spoke, somewhat apologetically for the lack of snow, “but there’s not enough snow for you kids to have snowball fights, I’m afraid. That may be good news for your sister and cousin,” Thomas-John concluded with a chuckle. “But, never fear, the weather people are forecasting more snow to come, maybe in time for Christmas.”
The Miracle Child
Jessi and Thomas-John entered the log house after their son and daughter-in-law, the older sons following them, little Jessi being already there with great excitement. The two younger boys, Thomas and John remained outside for a while, curious if what little snow there yet remained would be enough to make snowballs. Turning to his young grandsons before entering the house, Thomas-John spoke to them, saying, “You boys don’t stay out too long, hear. We don’t want you to catch your death.”
“But Grandpa, we’ve been taught that death is a great adventure for those who know Jesus,” spoke Thomas.
“Hm,” Thomas-John paused, having to give that remark a little thought. “That’s true, Thomas, but we must be careful not to hasten death before its time. We’re to be good stewards of our health, you know.”
“Thanks, Grandpa,” John said. “We won’t be out too long. We just want to see that snow that’s hiding around here someplace.”
Thomas-John then smiled, considering the good teaching his grandsons are receiving. Hearing them speak such wholesome thoughts, as from the mouth of babes, he then entered the house.
Inside, not far from the entrance through that glass door stands a large dining table, which could seat twelve guests at one time, four on each side and two at each end. Thomas-John and Jessi delighted in serving their guests at one time all seated around one table. Of course, they left it to their guests their time of rising from sleep, breakfast could be served any time; Thomas-John himself often prepared the meal. Seating at one table made it so convenient for serving, as was getting to know their guests, and their guests meeting one another. That was Jessi’s parents vision for this bed and breakfast business, not a business in itself, but a means of ministering and introducing that real life to any welcomed travelers stopping by for a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast the next morning – a breakfast that would “last until three o’clock,” as one guest put it. At each place setting is often placed a Scripture verse of encouragement and hope for the day. Throughout the inn ample décor gives evidence that Grammy’s Country Inn is indeed a Christian inn – where Christ is central – not intolerable, but in good taste, whereas to invite others to consider Christ’s Kingdom for themselves.
It’s a three-level inn, with two suites upstairs, two doubles and a single on the entrance floor. The bottom floor is the living area for the family – until now just Thomas-John and Jessi, the nest being empty. Even with their children returning home for this special celebration, there yet remains room in the inn for other guests, should some arrive.
Seated at that dining table now, however, were Carol-Lynne and little Jessi already enjoying each others’ company reading and doing other such activities found in a book laid before them, a book helping children deepening their Christian walk. The three brothers passing by glanced toward the girls, greeting Carol-Lynne. “Hi Cousin,” they simply said, each acknowledging his love for her. Curiosity getting the best of him, Timothy joined the girls momentarily at the table to check out what they were doing so meticulously.
Grammy Jessi paused at the table, appreciating her granddaughters, beaming with pride as any grandparent, or an aunt and uncle would do. “It’s sure good to see you girls, again, you boys too,” she said, glancing at all her grandchildren. “It’s been a while. We’re glad you’re all here.”
“It’s been just a couple of months, Grammy,” Carol-Lynne reminded.
“Yes, I remember, Sweetheart,” Jessi said, “But that’s still a while, as I wouldn’t mind seeing all of you every day.”
“We always enjoy visiting with you and grandpa, Grammy,” little Jessi remarked with a bright smile.
“Yes,” Carol-Lynne said, nodding in agreement with little Jessi.
Grammy Jessi seemed especially close to Carol-Lynne, not out of favoritism, though, but because Carol-Lynne like herself is an only child. Also, like Grammy Jessi, Carol-Lynne has had a kidney transplant; she’s been recovering splendidly for more than a year now. The first and only child born to Jessi and Thomas-John’s daughter and son-in-law, Sarah Lynne and Tom Arden, Carol-Lynne has led a sickly child from birth. Yet, healed miraculously by the hand of Elohim and a loving kidney donor, she now enjoys a remarkable life, being her parents’ miracle child, as Grammy Jessi was to her parents.
“Remember girls,” Grammy Jessi spoke, “Elohim has a wonderful plan for your lives, your brothers, too. Seek Him to the fullest. Shy away from any worldly ideals. Fix your gaze always on Jesus.” The girls, as well as Timothy, looked up appreciatively to their caring grandmother, and then suddenly turned their gaze toward that glass door being opened then quickly shut so as to keep out the cold air.
“Brrr,” the two youngest grandsons shivered, finally coming in from the outdoors, their grandfather right behind them, having gone out to fetch them, thinking they’ve been outdoors long enough.
“Well, welcome, Thomas and John,” Grammy Jessi said, glowing. “Finally decided to join us where it’s warm, eh? Did you find any snow out there?”
“No,” the boys said simultaneously with a shiver as they headed for the fireplace where a cozy fire was burning brightly. Thomas-John and Jessi glanced at one another sharing a wink, their love still growing deeper every day even after forty-three years of marriage.
After a delightful supper that evening with the whole family once again together, they all retired for the night. The next day would begin early for that special celebration of forty-three years.
T.J. had risen earlier the next morning than when he was expecting to rise for the sake of his wife, Cheryl, who had awakened with birthing pains. Dressing and gathering their essentials they stepped outside the inn into a light falling snow, the family had sent them off with a prayer. Soon the blue Suburban was winding its way back up the highway toward the hospital. Once there and safely in the delivery room, T.J. paused to phone his family back at the inn.
Soon an exhilarating scream from the inn was heard, perhaps all the way to Southland. “It’s a girl!” yelled little Jessi. “I have a sister. Thank you, Jesus.”
“I have another cousin,” Carol-Lynne exclaimed, “A girl cousin.”
On hearing the good news of the safe arrival of their new grandchild, Thomas-John and Jessi embraced one another. “What a great gift to receive on our anniversary day,” Thomas-John said, kissing his wife. “What a great family with whom our Elohim has blessed us.”
“Elohim’s grace is so great,” Jessi remarked, giving Elohim all the glory. For that reason, T.J. and Cheryl named their new baby, seventh child, and second daughter, “Anna Grace.”
Christmas Day had finally arrived, with also the arrival of fresh snow once again to that small mountain town. All in the inn awakened early in eager anticipation of this annual renewal celebration of the first coming of the Christ child. Shortly after a hearty breakfast, the family gathered around the Christmas tree across the room from the fireplace and Grammy’s Bible Reading corner. Before gift opening, however, Grammy Jessi and her loving husband, Thomas-John, as was their custom, read the Christmas story as found in that precious, authoritative book, the Bible. Deep in her memory, Jessi was recalling how her “adopted” grandmother related the story to her from that old, worn Bible that was well read. (Oh, how Jessi now enjoyed being the “Grammy.”)
All the children listened intently, baby Anna Grace, asleep, securely clutched in Grammy Jessi’s arms. After the story and a prayer from various family members, then commenced the gift opening. Such is an annual exchange among the family as a demonstration of their loving care for one another, as Elohim so demonstrated His loving care for all the world through the giving of Himself for an eternal inheritance.
After the gift opening and the wrappings and such gathered up, they all gathered around the cozy fireplace, enhanced by the flickering of the Christmas tree lights – Thomas-John and Jessi with all their children, Timothy-John (T.J.) and Cheryl, Sarah Lynne and Tom, and now eight beautiful grandchildren. While sipping hot cocoa, some simply grasping their warm cup in the palms of their hands for extra warmth, they all joined together in the singing of Christmas carols and other hymns, praising their Creator who made this gathering possible, looking forward to that glorious day of Christ’s second appearing. Until then, however, their hearts will go on singing, welcoming guests to that bed and breakfast inn in Jesus’ name, and continually sharing His love to those who have yet to hear, or who are simply content living life in the temporal status quo. As Jessi and Thomas-John and all their children experience daily, there is no greater joy in life than as Elohim meant it to be, which will continue far into eternity.
Jessi beamed with pride and gratefulness to her Elohim for all her family gathered together in the inn – husband, children, and lovely grandchildren; only because of Him she was able to see this day. Amazingly, sitting there in that “ancient” wingback chair, her youngest grandchildren poised in front of her on that accompanying ottoman, the newborn in her arms, her eyes caught momentarily the sight of that ornament sparkling atop the Christmas tree, an eight-pointed star wherein the center appeared to be a cross. She was reminded afresh of that cross of long ago on which was hung her Jesus (Yeshua), the Christ (Messiah), the central point of all history, secular and spiritual, temporal and eternal, religion and faith – the two worlds.
It’s at that cross where the worlds clash, when one has to make a choice as to which road to take, continuing down that broad way which may look good for a while in this time, but in the end leads only to a life of everlasting darkness, destruction and distress, prepared solely for that evil one and his angels.
Or one could choose that narrow path in this time – the path less traveled by – guided and protected by the Creator of all life Himself and His angels. That choice will make all the difference for all time and eternity, marking one’s eternal destiny. For Jessi and Thomas-John it was the narrow path – a surer foundation, more sure than what the temporal world – that broad way – has to offer.
Outdoors the ground and trees glistened under a blanket of sparkling white flakes, so reminding one who has put his trust in the Almighty Three-in-One of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus. A power that is strong enough to keep one pure and clean from the impurities of the physical world, when life is saturated with the Word of Elohim.
Indoors, warmed by the cozy fire and the affectionate care for one another, faces glistened with the presence of the Lord, enjoying each other’s company, singing praises to Elohim.
To all those who have taken the truth of Elohim’s Word to heart, be encouraged, for “Greater is He who is in you than he who is the world.” Remember, too, the words of that One Who is in you, “As the Father has sent me into this physical world, even so, send I you…”
The start of a new beginning
Consider beginning again at Preface and Prologue