PART 11 ~1974 to 2013: Continued Encounters with the “One-of-a-Kind” Mr.D. (Yes, a 39 year period!)
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“For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
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PEGGY CONTINUES HER TESTIMONY:
September of 1974 found me living at home and commuting to the State College nearby to study Music Education with a Piano Major. The Music building was brand new, state of the art, and a total pleasure to be a part of. I loved my music studies and enjoyed the many fine Christian fellow music majors that I met there.
However, I guess you’ve figured out that Mr. D. never stopped showing up in my life, even at that point. I had asked my Dad one time where he lived. Dad replied that he lived with his aunt a bit of a distance from the High School. But one day I was driving through the town right next to mine, and what did I see? I saw Mr. D. working outside in front of a very neatly kept Bungalow style house in a nice neighborhood.
WHAT? Then I looked his name up in the county phone book, and realized he had indeed moved to the town right next to mine.
~ ~ (Why am I seeing beautiful lavender light right now on large portions of my computer screen? I really can’t answer that, but perhaps it means that Divine help is guiding this writing— okay, just saw it again, thank-you Holy Spirit!)
I liked that little quaint town where he lived. It was perfectly charming. Thus, I would frequently go down town there, and of course, I would “run into” Mr. D. He was always alone. I’d see him going into the little ice cream shop, in local restaurants, or at the beautiful nearby park. It was always a brief meeting, and he’d invariably say to the particular male friend with me at the time, “You have a TERRIFIC girl!”
The guy with me at the time would invariably answer, “but we’re just friends,” and that was the truth! I liked intellectual discussions with people and these various guys were pretty smart!
In 1975, my very special High School Choir Director, Mrs. Doug. (abbreviated last name) called me and said that she needed a flutist to play a piece that her adult vocal student was ready to perform. Mrs. Doug. lived in an extremely affluent neighborhood, quite a few miles north of my home, but she remained humble, warm, and loving. She loved music as much as I did. I said “yes” to Mrs. Doug. and started travelling up to her home for rehearsals. Then I went along to perform on my flute with Mrs. Doug. and Wilma, the talented singer as she performed at several churches.
One day, we were scheduled to perform at a local Historical Society. I came out, all dressed up, and placed my music on the stand to get ready to play. I looked up. You guessed it. I locked eyes with Mr.D. I don’t remember us talking afterward. Every time I’d see him, it was just a quiet brief encounter, and I reasoned that things were different than those 10 years in elementary and high school with him. However, I always continued to feel that “something different” (in a very good way) about him. I still couldn’t quite put my finger on what exactly it was.
Next thing you know, Mrs. Doug. invited me to come to a dinner and musical entertainment time (provided by the invited guest) at the home of a very accomplished jazz pianist named Marjorie in that affluent neighborhood. Mrs. Doug. and Marjorie really enjoyed people that had musical and theatrical talent and they liked them even more if they were actively engaged in using those talents. They told me to come prepared to perform something of my choosing on the grand piano in Marjorie’s living room after the dinner. It wasn’t hard to choose my composition. I had an “Intermezzo” by Brahms memorized because of my college studies. It was an exceedingly beautiful piece.
Marjorie had a very charming house. I was relieved that it wasn’t too big. I liked simplicity and warm loving hearts. To me, that is what made a home. I was stunned to see not one but two grand pianos and one upright in her home. She had her own interior decorator and showed us a room upstairs that was beautifully decorated in an African theme.
There was a Radio personality, and on and on. BUT, who did I see standing there outside, but Mr.D.! WHAT? I walked over and spoke with him and asked him what he was doing in life besides teaching. He told me that he was writing a book, and that sounded nice. I wouldn’t expect anything less of Mr. D. than extraordinary pursuits in his free time in life.
We went inside to a beautiful dinner all ready for us. Mr. D. sat directly across from me. One thing about him just then impressed me: he bowed his head alone, praying before he ate.
Wow! Then came the entertainment portion. My performance of Brahms was a success. Everyone was fabulous. Then came Mr. D’s turn. I wondered what his talent would be. Well, Marge sat down to the piano. Mr. D. stood by the piano, and WOW! He started to sing! He had an extraordinarily beautiful and expressive tenor voice. He sang “If Every I Would Leave You” from the musical “Camelot.” I was blown away. After all, how many talents did this man possess?
It appeared that he had enough talent for 5 people! His vocal expression really impressed me. Nuances and subtlety of expression as well as dynamic contrast and carefully thought-out phrasing were trademarks with me when I played the piano. I had learned a lot of that from my Dad’s playing, and it was being further honed by my College Piano Professor. A lot of people said that Dad and I would make the organ or piano “stand on end” when we played, meaning that we gave our playing every ounce of expression that was in us. Sometimes Dad and I even played Organ and Piano duets together for Church Services. Everyone seemed to really love that.
There were several other dinner meetings like this, and I was always there and so was Mr. D. Then around 1976 or so, I would accompany Mr. D’s Christian solos at church for Summer Special Music. Again, we didn’t really converse very much, we just did our music and parted. Then at the end of the 1977 College Term, it was time for me to graduate college and also perform my “Senior Recital” on the piano in the “Recital Hall” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education. Well, I invited a lot of people, and probably would not have thought of inviting Mr. D., except I had seen him lately at the “Talent Dinners.” I sent out an invitation, and hoped that he would attend.
I performed about 40 minutes of memorized classical music. One piece in particular is of interest. It was a modern composition by the American Composer, Charles Ives. The composition wove some American tunes in a modern unique way, and then at the end of many phrases were the surprise chords to “HERE COMES THE BRIDE,” coming out of “nowhere.” I don’t remember all these years later why Ives did that, but I do remember that there was some personal significance to it. We know there’s spiritual significance now in 2016!
At the end of the recital, all of the guests lined up in the hall to greet me with many smiles and congratulations and then proceed into the Student Lounge for some refreshments. I didn’t see Mr. D. at all. Did he attend it? I was on stage and had to concentrate on the memorized music. When I stood up to bow after each piece, the auditorium was basically dark. There is no way that I would even think of looking out into the audience to see who was there. That would have been a foolish distraction from the needed concentration. I asked my Dad later if he saw Mr. D…. Dad smiled and said, “oh yes, honey, he was there!”
The next day, Mr. D. called up to compliment me on the success of the recital. I thought to myself with admiration, that he probably did those types of encouraging calls to others, too. A few weeks later, Mr. D. called me to let me know that there was a job opening for the type of teaching job that I desired. In his conversations, he was always optimistic, encouraging, and to the point. I admired his focused conversations.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~ (Ephesians 4:29)
The next thing is that Mr. D. called me at home and asked if I could meet him at Dad’s church to go over some songs with him that he needed to sing for a wedding. I was busy, but gladly told him, “yes.” He said he was going to bring along someone that I’d like to meet. Well, we went over the songs, and our nuances of expression just naturally blended. I was playing the organ, and he was singing from the Pulpit with a microphone turned on. Then he started to sing the most beautiful Christian songs in such a heartfelt way.
Immediately it hit me: WE BELONG TOGETHER. I thought, “you have this very attractive blond woman, about my age, with you, and I do feel as if she’s a real quality person. BUT WE BELONG TOGETHER, and you are too blind to see it!”
I was not particularly dressed up at that time. I tried to save money on clothes so I could pay for my college education myself. To top it off, Mr. D. introduced me simply as a person that is “unique in her own way” to the beautiful woman. That didn’t impress me, either. His bland description of me further emphasized to me his blindness about his intrinsic compatibility with me!
We parted for the night, and then a foolish, reckless, and rebellious idea hit me. I thought, “if you want to play this game about outward beauty being everything, I’ll play that right back to you.”
I was being unreasonable, stubborn, and rebellious, but that’s the foolish path that I chose. There are really only two paths: Wise and foolish and the Bible, in particular points out exactly what the specific differences are. In college logic classes, they had taught that there really wasn’t a right and a wrong, but all kinds of variations and gray areas. Well, since I graduated college, I’ve gotten smarter and realized that the Professors really didn’t have the answers. As of 2012, I KNEW for certain that THE BIBLE had the answers!
Well, I was stubbornly determined to be in rebellion, so that’s what I did. Direct communication with Mr. D. was out of the question. He was over 20 years older than I was. I had no right to reason with him over these things. He would have to know by intuition, just like I did. Would you believe that less than a year later I met an extremely handsome man about 5 years older than I was. He was divorced, and that bothered me, but I was determined to play the “looks” game at all costs. How foolish. We dated for a few years, then married in 1982. Would you believe that the house that he chose to live in happened to be just a few short blocks from Mr. D’s house? He just happened to spend his entire life in that town and didn’t want to move from it. Well, the so-called marriage went on for 14 years. We were not inwardly compatible whatsoever. There is so much more to the story, but that page in my story has been long finished, so there’s no need to repeat it much of it, except a few details.
In the last two or three years of that so-called marriage, I began to pray to the Lord. It was not a good situation at all. I felt like my life purpose was being suffocated. The man had deep-seated issues and knew it, and even said that I had a right to divorce him.
I didn’t want to because I felt that divorce was against the Bible teachings. So, I sat in the living room and prayed a deep heart-wrenching cry to the Heavenly Father to please bring me someone that understands me that would not cause me to break up the so-called marriage. I pleaded that I had to have something to help me!! I told the Father that I didn’t want to break my marriage vows, even though I knew something was terribly wrong. In fact, I knew it way before the wedding, the day of the wedding, and immediately after, including all the days that followed. I was a performer of music. I was involved in a deadly combination: the strength to “go on with the show” and my rebellion. My rebellion cost me 14 years plus about 3 and 1/2 dating years of walking around the wilderness in circles, so to speak, although, on the outside, most people said we were a great couple.
Anyway, one day I was in a little bedroom of the house by myself, and an astonishing thing happened. I was about to go on an obligatory walk in the park with my so-called husband.
I looked at the closed door to the room, and an image flashed up on the door unmistakably. It was the image of Mr. D…..I could see what he was wearing, too. We proceeded to the park and got out of the car. I looked straight ahead. Amazing! There was Mr. D. dressed just the way I saw him in that quick flash of a vision! I started to vaguely wonder if he was the “soul-mate” I prayed for. It sort of seemed like that.
A couple of weeks later, Mr. D. called and said that a church had asked him to perform a singing program. He wanted to know if I would accompany him on the piano. It seemed an answer to prayer to be around some sanity after the difficult situations at home that were so very foreign to the kind, caring and peaceful environment that I grew up in. That started a lot of many such programs at churches and civic groups. We also performed at weddings. I felt I could endure the love-less and mentally abusive marriage now that I had this positive and constructive outlet. I enjoyed my teaching job, but I knew God wanted me to do more for the Kingdom besides that job. The work with Mr. D. satisfied that longing to a reasonable extent.
Then, one night the mental abuse started to turn to something escalating to probable physical abuse. That night was July 1, 1996, and out of sheer concern for my physical safety, I had to flee the house. There was only one place to go, and that was my parents’ home nearby.
I got out through a strategic plan and just in time. I felt it a blessing that my parents were away on a fairly long trip. They weren’t due back for another week. I liked that idea. This was something I had to sort through on my own. That night, I burst into tears at the foolish mistake I had made in my life of consenting to that so-called marriage to begin with.
I wanted to call someone and talk, and the only person that I trusted enough to call was Mr. D…..Fortunately, he was home and answered the phone right away. He expressed comforting words and promised to be there for me. I walked over to my parents’ piano and saw piano-vocal music from “A Chorus Line” right there. I opened up the score. The first song that opened up was “What I Did for Love.” I sat there and played it, “Kiss today good-bye, and point me toward tomorrow……but I won’t forget or regret what I did for Love (God).” I couldn’t believe how appropriate that song was.
Mr. D and I continued our platonic relationship for about 20 days, then we had our first kiss at “Bethel Mill Park” on July 21, 1996. By the way, “Bethel Mill” means House of God. (By the way, I started calling Mr. D. “Jim” at his request several years before.) Jim said afterward that he knew that the kiss was not a one time thing. I had the identical conviction!
By 1997, I felt I had to get out of the area. There were too many negative memories there by now from the so-called marriage. Therefore, I bought a house for myself in the city where I taught school. By August of 1998 I was divorced and free to move on. I will have to say that my Father commented to me several times regarding Jim, “that man was your SAVING GRACE”!
I proceeded slowly. I ended up living at that home by myself for many years. In those years I learned of Jim’s passionate interest in being involved in the Pro-Life Movement. He had given talks of education on the topic at over 700 schools over his retirement years. I would attend his talks and also his adult training classes with him. He was a real “pro” at speaking and teaching. It was great watching his talent and thinking of the destinies that would be changed to be more aligned with God’s Word as a result.
“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” ~ (Psalm 139:13-16)
Jim was raised as a Catholic from birth. He was one of the most ecumenical people that I ever met, though. He was comfortable in any church that proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I was brought up Protestant. His church had a Pro-Life group, and I was interested in it, so they welcomed me to it. We shared each other’s activities fully. Most of our activities revolved around how the Holy Spirit was leading us to serve.
Jim and I would get together whenever we could. We always had fabulous discussions and fun with our music. Jim ended up sharing his poetry with me. He said mine were the first human eyes to every look at them besides his mother. I was honored, but not surprised! I never knew that Jim wrote poetry previously. When I saw this first poem, “Solitude,” it really touched my heart! I tended to be a contemplative person at times, and enjoyed being that way. Again I resonated with Jim in another area, on yet another level.
In addition to writing poetry, he had many interesting compositions, too. Here is the poem:
SOLITUDE by Jim (age 16)
The lovely stillness of my solitude
Envelops all my being
And I steal away so easily
To Blissful sanctuaries in my reverie
No noise to shake that picture in my mind
That seems more real than actuality
No rude intrude to disturb that pleasant place
Which beckons me to stay.
Weaving in and out among the paths of memories
I live the joys of yesteryear
And find a thought or two which brings a smile
And then a tear because it is no more.
This wondrous world of mine is also yours
Or anyone’s who dares to break away
From busy busy worlds and make his way
Into that sacred hush called peaceful solitude.
Side Note: Thinking about Jim’s writings, another thing just came to my remembrance. Beginning when I was in fourth grade, I was invited to become part of a “Cooking and Sewing” Chapter of the 4-H Clubs. I continued on with that for several years. It was a wonderful experience. Before I go on, I can’t resist telling you our pledge that we repeated before each meeting. I think it’s really nice. You’ll see what the FOUR H words are:
“I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living, for my club, my community, and my country.”
Anyway, I was voted the “Secretary” of the “Clicking Seamers” Group, and I had to keep the minutes of the meeting, and then write it up and send it for publication in the County Newspaper. So, every week, I would check for my write ups. They were always signed “Peggy C.” Then, I would look to the left. What did I see? Many times I saw under “Letters to the Editor,” notes full of questions and critical thinking by none other than “Mr. James E. D.”!! There we were, many times practically next to each other in print in the County Paper!
Back to my main composition:
Jim claimed that our discussions together inspired some more of his writings. I will include some very brief excerpts from a few compositions:
Time and Eternity ~ by Jim
“We are so sensitive to this man-made invention of time that we frequently allow it to over-regulate our lives, and thereby, we do indeed become slaves to the clock and the calendar. However, in doing so we lose sight of the awesome and magnificent thing which is called Eternity.”
Friendship ~ by Jim
“It appears logical to state that to the degree that the value system between two people is in harmony, to that degree it is then possible for a true friendship to be born and to grow. It becomes apparent that the more we attempt to analyze friendship, the more this great blessing of God jus slips through our fingers and our thoughts. Friendship, like love, refuses to be bottled and labeled by our minds, and like love, the greatest gift it offers is liberation to our spirits.
And here’s a poem that was an award-winning one at the State College nearby:
Carpenter for a CROSS (in reference to the CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST) ~ by Jim
They said to make it STRONG
and so I did.
The finest lumber in my shop I chose.
A quick job, I’ll admit, but very STRONG.
They came and took the heavy thing away.
Their leader praised me well for such a job.
Just two broad beams of oak is all it took,
and Heaven surely knows I made it STRONG.
But how was I to know, they didn’t say;
Let no man dare to blame or censure me.
They used it for a murder now I hear.
How STRONG it was to hold such WEIGHT as HIS.
Well, the happy years progressed on. Eventually, we decided that we’d like to get married. We looked for a home, and we found one that we were strongly led to by the Holy Spirit. Our homes didn’t sell easily. That took more time. Then the date was December of 2009. My dear Father had a stroke. No one could believe it. Many people said, “I thought he was invincible!” He was a powerhouse of energy, enthusiasm, and a multiplicity of talents, in addition to possessing a high degree of intelligence. As I think of it, Dad and Jim were very similar in a variety of ways! There’s another interesting about the two. When I had success in an endeavor as a teenager, Dad sometimes would say, “I taught you everything you know.” When I started dating Jim, he surprised me by saying, “You know why you’re good at that, don’t you?” Then he’d answer, “Because I taught you. I made you what you are.”
Now, back to my Father’s stroke. My life changed then, as I put my parents first, and dedicated just about all of my free time to being there for them. One thing about Jim was that he was never demanding. He always believed that if you loved someone, you would give them the freedom to be themselves. That’s exactly what he did. I was free to blossom and grow into more of what God had in mind for me before I had entered into that FOOLISH rebellion!
Back to the facts. In 2012, my dear Father passed away. Now Jim and I had more freedom. Fairly soon in 2013, he got me a diamond ring. Then I was busy with the last year of school. That was certainly not the time to plan a wedding. When I first entered retirement, I decided to wait a little longer to get married. I wanted to explore what God had for me to do, and I went at it full tilt. Jim supported me. The year 2014 went by, and most of 2015, then the Holy Spirit intervened. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Before I close this Part 11, I will share that somewhere along the way, Jim and I had formed our ministry group. It was just the two of us. The group name was decided to be “Two for HIM.”
This ministry consisted of his singing and my piano playing as well as a drama and home visitation ministry. It was awesome to work together in ministry. We both loved it.
Someone wrote a poem about us in 2002. Here it is:
To acknowledge the talents of Peg and Jim
Who for His Glory call themselves “Two for HIM.”
Endless chords are played and words are sung;
For their dedication to the Spirit, bells should be rung.
Their goal together is to help people in need
By acknowledging the need and planting seeds.
With compassion and empathy, filled with His Grace,
They serve and console with their prayers in place.
Peg and Jim travel to many different churches;
Poised to hear God’s call on spiritual perches,
They graciously accept by singing and piano playing;
Witnessing to God’s Glory– to them goes without saying.
Their joy in the Lord is shared with all in their path,
Multiplying blessings many times over, if you do the math.
God sees their conviction and sincere loyalty
To seek the Truth, the Light, and the Life— Jesus’ Royalty.
“To God be the Glory” is their favorite phrase.
The inspiration that God provides can truly amaze!
May they be surrounded by angels protecting them
And divinely rewarded for what they do for HIM.
Written by Lynn
@June 21, 2002
“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
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