Going Home

Poem by Fred Estep

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Sid

You may be familiar with Sid from a number of posts over the years.  He and his family were neighbors for a number of years to both my parents.  The last mention of him by Dad was that of February 9th entitled “Unexpected Requests”.  He did a wonderful job speaking yesterday despite his nerves.  It is always such a blessing to see your parents through someone else’s eyes, to see them beyond being Dad.  Thank you for that, Sid.  Below is what Sid gave me yesterday following Dad’s service and reception.

John Cowart was more than a friend.  To me, he was like family.  Even though, it was sad for him to go, he told me that he was ready to go.  So seeming him go maybe the sad part but I have come to realize thay he is in a better place and that will always be with us.  I’ve gotten to see him in half my lifetime.  Trust me when I say, he was a good person to talk to.  He was the kind of person who talked about his life and cared for others.  So now as we say goodbye to John Cowart, he leaves a legacy to me and others who loved him that you should always keep a smile on your face when you see the ones you love.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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A touch of red

For Mom’s service, we didn’t wear black.  Trust me, it wasn’t because we weren’t grieving.  We wanted to celebrate not just her passing but her life and love of it.  We are hoping to do something similar for Dad and if attending, please feel free to join us.  Please wear a touch (or more) of red.

For thirty years, date night to Dad meant a red and black checkered shirt.  He mentions it in a 2005 post that Mom told him how handsome he looked in it.  From then on, he wore it for their date nights.  Did I mention that compliment happened in 1968? They had a million different ways to say I love you without saying a word.  And wearing a touch of red will be ours.  Because like it will say on his placard soon, he lived a love story.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Dad is still teaching us

This is a hand written letter Eve and Jennifer found in files that mom saved of Dad’s important items. Jennifer transcribes it for us. It is like Dad is speaking to us today in our grief. This is a rough draft letter from John Cowart to our mom’s sister, Kathy Griffin whose husband Bud had passed away, we were notified by our grandmother, Alva Worthington.

“October 29, 1979

Dear Kathy,

We were very sorry to receive your mother’s letter telling us of Bud’s death. I’m sure you are both sad and relieved.

My father died of cancer at the end of August and while I was unhappy over the agony he went through there was a sense of relief and peace mingled with my grief. I will never forget the look on his face the first few minutes after he died. The tension and pain were gone. The anguish ended and rest had come. After the months of tests, treatments, medical indignities and the awful waiting, release had finally come. And although it may seem strange to say it, in a way I was glad. I’m sure you understand.

For a while the business of making funeral arrangements held off the numbness of grief. But little things kept reminding me of my loss. I am making decisions, about whether to this or that in helping Mom settle things I was constantly thinking ‘I’ll have to ask daddy about this.’ So the grief hit me over and over again. It’s not just one overwhelming shock but it occurs over and over again, like waves of the sea when the flood tide is receeding, each shock is a little less and each one uncovers a little more solid ground.

One of my main temptations has been to try to ‘be strong’ but thats foolish stoisism. The tears we shed are an honor, a memorial to our loved one. There is no shame in honest greif. It’s a tragic man for whom no one weeps.

You and Bud have been through a lot together. His death forces a radical change in your life so go slow about making other changes. Give yourself time to feel and love and grieve and remember before you add lesser changes to this great one.

As Christians we know that our Lord has experienced death and returned to life. Therefore He knows what he’s talking about when He speaks concerning either death or life. I have found particular comfort in His words recorded in John 14.

I feel hesitant to write you concerning my own loss in the face of yours both because our losses are so differnet and because I feel I’m revealing weaknesses more than offering consolation. What I’m really trying to say is that I’m sorry and I care.

Kathy, if you feel that a change of scenery would help you in regaining your prospective, our home is yours. We would be honored if you would like to come live with us. We have plenty of room and would be delighted to have you. For months, the children have prayed for Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bud in their evening prayers and they would be overjoyed to see you again. Let us know about it.”

 

JOHN 14: 1-22 taken from “The Message” Bible
“Dont let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking. ”

Thomas said, Master, we have no idea where your’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”

Jesus said” I am the Road , also the Truth,also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, your would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”

Phillip said, “Master, show us the Father, then we’ll be content.”

“You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.

” Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see – these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greather things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

” If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’llprovide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. The Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you and will even be in you!

“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.

“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said, “Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not to the world?”

“Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, ” is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him – we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.

“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left – feeling abandonded, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

“You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.

“I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me. I’ll not be talking with you much more like this because the chief of this godless world is about to attack. But don’t worry – he has nothing on me, no claim on me. But so the world might know how thoroughly I love the Father, I am carrying out my Father’s instructions right down to the last detail.

“Get up. Let’s go. It’s time to leave here.”

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Dad’s Service

In Loving Memory and Celebration
JOHN WILSON COWART
7/15/39 – 2/22/15

Dad

Memorial Celebration
Sunday, 3/15/15 at 1pm – 4pm

The graveside service from 1-1:45 pm will be at
Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Home

Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery
7242 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32205

(904) 781-9262

Then from 2-4pm we request everyone proceed to Dad’s favorite – Maple Street Biscuit Company where there will be a luncheon. Additional covered dishes are welcome.

Maple Street Biscuit Company
1171 Edgewood Ave. S.
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 518-4907

Please join us to remember and celebrate.

There will be a portion of the service when you can say how you met or how you remember our dad, if you would like to. ANY story, memory, recollection about him, we are asking you email it to his blog so that we can use those memories to provide guest blogs. You can be anonymous if you wish. The email is johnwcowart@gmail.com or comment using the link below this post.

In lieu of flowers John W. Cowart asked that donations be made in his name to:

Trinity Lutheran Church Food Pantry
1415 Mcduff Ave S
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 389-5341
Tom runs the program

or

Riverside Presbyterian Church
Meals on Wheels Program

849 Park St,
Jacksonville, FL 32204
(904) 388-8187

We look forward to seeing you there to share in the life and love of our father! If you need information or have questions, contact Jennifer at (904) 655-0881.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Gone Home

Finally free! Our beloved Dad is home with Mom and Jesus.  We are grieving our loss but happy he is home free.  Please respect our time and allow us some space.  Thank you.

 

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• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Love, love, love

Hi all.  This is Eve, John’s middle daughter again.  Dad is truly in the home stretch to heading home.  He is settled and comfortable and surrounded by love.  It is spilling out of every room and every corner of his house here on earth.  It is sleeping in the other room taking a second getting ready to wake up to take the night shift.  It is sitting up in the living room on the couch and every chair filled talking and sharing stories.  It is in the bathroom grabbing the washcloth because Dad is feeling comfortable in his routine and his routine includes getting ready and clean for Mom to come home from work.  It is in the kitchen making milkshakes for Dad to enjoy a treat he’s loved.  It is in the driveway as cars come and go, one after the other, bringing friends who are like family and family who are friends too.

But it can’t compare to the love he is heading to.  That love fills the world.  It is unconditional and all consuming.  God is ready to welcome his child back into his loving arms.  We are getting ready to let him go but we will miss him and love him still.  We are ready to share who he is and who God is with those upcoming grandkids.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Create in me a clean heart or unicorn

You might have guessed from the title that Dad is having a guest poster today.  This is Eve, John’s middle daughter.  His journey home is coming to a close so I volunteered  to write up a post. The title is from Psalm 51 with a small edit : )

A couple of weeks ago, Dad and I were visiting and he asked me if there were any things from around the house that I would want.  He’d already been putting things in large paper bags to set aside for us but he asked for my input for my stuff.  Mom had had a small collection of unicorns.  Mom and Dad had given me a unicorn music box that once was Mom’s several years ago and I have always loved it and wanted to add to my collection. So when Dad asked, I knew immediately what my answers was to be.  The unicorns!  A while ago, I had given to Mom a pair of unicorns.   Dad had me take them down and take them home that night.

But after living in a smoke filled home for years, what had started as white unicorns were now brown.  I rinsed them off at first but that didn’t get rid of anything but the dust.  I could have given up on them but I treasured them and the idea of the pleasure they had given my parents for so many years.  So I pulled out the whitening toothpaste, my q-tips and rubbed the toothpaste into every nook and cranny.  I hoped it would work and with a lot of scrubbing, q-tips and one final rinse, they turned out like this:

What was stained was now as beautiful as when first given….rather like Dad or me or you.

Sin stains us.  It could be a thin layer of dust or smoke stains down to the core.  You might think that makes us unworthy or beyond saving.  Something for the trash heap.  But so loved and blessed are we that God gives us the incredible offer of salvation.  How can I be certain of God’s love?  Because of my Dad.  My Dad loved us so well and fully that it gives me a hint at how much our heavenly Father loves us and how he treasures us.  It is only through God’s amazing grace that we can be made clean.  Amazing is a great word for it and that possibility is a better gift than anything, even a pair of snow white unicorns.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Updates on a rainy day.

John is  happy and singing/humming as he drifts in and out of awareness. He is surrounded by his family and friends, comfortable in his recliner.

It’s amazing that even now, he is a witness to others. In the midst of a painful procedure this afternoon, he thanked the nurse for helping him. His social worker was touched by his holding his adult children in his lap to comfort them, even as he is confined to his recliner.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. It probably won’t be too much longer until he joins his bride, Ginny, though I wouldn’t put it past him to surprise us and bless us here a little longer.

— Helen

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Two Stout Monks

Friday, February 13, 2015

Last night I read an e-mail from a former minister of Christ Church Jacksonville Anglican, the church I attend.

In November, 2013, the Rev Gary Blaylock accepted a call to become pastor of St. Francis Anglican Church in Fairhope, Alabama.

Over the last four days he has attended a spiritual retreat at Saint Joseph Abbey in Louisiana.

St Joe Abby
This monastery was founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks and serves as a seminary and a retreat facility for those seeking spiritual renewal.

Visitors are welcome…

However, Rev. Blaylock included this sign of instructions for visitors—it’s well worth clicking to enlarge and reading to the end:

Benedictine welcom

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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