When I was a child my father would listen to Jim Ed Brown and his sisters sing a song called the "Three Bells." I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. It is one of those that always makes me cry. The lyrics that make me the saddest are these:
"From the village hidden deep in the valley
One rainy morning dark and gray
A soul winged its way to heaven
Jimmy Brown had passed away
Just a lonely bell was ringingIn the little valley town
Twas farewell that it was singing
To our good old Jimmy Brown
And the little congregation
Prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation,
May his soul find the salvation
Of thy great eternal love"
I am sad today. My real-friend Jimmy Brown passed away around midnight last night. Jimmy was more than a friend....he was extended family. His brother, Randy, is married to my cousin Amanda. I have had many a meal at the Brown family table as a teenager when Amanda was dating and first married to Randy. I got the phone call this morning and it made me sad, but only briefly. Sad, because Jimmy will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He was an awesome man of God. If you were ever around him you could feel God's Spirit moving like a mighty wind.
Jimmy was a fire-fighter at heart. He served a long time at the Auburn Fire Dept. and was well loved by all who knew him there and at the Fire Academy. I got to meet some of the Fire Academy guys last summer when they came to visit. Still Magnolias went to Jimmy's and sang with and for the guys. They truly loved this man. It was a powerful feeling to be in the league of brothers for a short period of time. There is a bond there that is eternal.
Jimmy was a man of God. He loved his God and he served his God. Even when cancer took control over his body anyone who knew Jimmy knew where he was in his walk with God. He was such a fierce believer. I am blessed for having known this man during my life on this earth.
Jimmy was a loving husband and father. Two of the most important people to him were his wife and his son. His pride in both shined when they were around or when he was talking about them. I know that there will be a big gap in their lives as they adjust to the absence of their loved one.
Jimmy was a loving brother to Randy and Debbie. I know they are both struggling today with this loss. I also know that they too are Christians and know that Jimmy is walking those streets of gold with God right now...and has already picked out his mansion and is waiting for all of us to get there so we can pick and sing on his new front porch.
I sat there this morning when I got the news and cried. I cried for his family and friends. I rejoiced for him because he was no longer in pain and he was with God. I had no doubt in my mind! I thought briefly about what Jimmy would say to us if he could give us a shout out from up above and I know he would be telling us all to get our lives together. The thing I think he would tell us all is to not waste a moment with anger towards those we love, enjoy life to its fullest now, and to not sweat the small stuff. We can chose to live and enjoy what we have in friends and family.....or we can work ourselves into an early grave. The choice of course is ours. I personally want to follow Jimmy's example and enjoy my family while I have the chance. The world lost a truly good guy last night. God gained another angel. My thoughts and prayers are with the Brown family and all the friends of Jimmy Brown. God Bless Us All!