Gerald sat down beside me. We were drinking coffee. It was early morning.
“Let me tell you something I never, ever told another person in this world” he said.
“When my boy died, I lost it. I really lost it. I cried so much I couldn’t cry another tear.
I’ve known Gerald since high school. I knew him when the two of us, together on a scale, didn’t weigh 300 pounds. He had a better car than mine. He learned to work with his hands.
He started his own business. Made some good money. Then his son got killed on the job.
He started up the conversation again.
“We were at the funeral home. I didn’t know what to do. Too many people, too many friends. My son in a casket at the end of the room. The room was spinning, my world had shut down. I couldn’t cry any more and I needed to cry.”
He looked me in the eye. I didn’t know what to say. You can’t console a man who loses his child. Can’t do anything but care and that’s never enough. The boy died twenty years ago. Gerald lives with his loss every day.
Then Gerald told me about his father.
“My dad had a real hard time growing up. One time he lost everything he had. Bankrupt. Not a penny to his name. All he had was his religion. He went to his preacher, asking for help, for some guidance, for a hand up while he was in a deep place. The preacher looked at him. He said “Just listen to this poem.”
“Plow On, Plow On, Plow On.”
The Dad asked, “Is there a second verse?” The preacher said “Plow On, Plow On, Plow On.”
The Dad asked, “And another verse?” The preacher said “Plow On, Plow On, Plow On.”
Gerald’s Dad listened. A year later he was back on the path to success.
His Dad, the Grandfather who also lost a grandson, pulled my friend away from the crowd, sat him in a chair and said “Plow On, Plow On, Plow On.”
This week has been one of deep sorrow for Lincoln County. A sheriff’s deputy, a Godly man, with a wife and a child, was gunned down. Seven family members, all living within shouting distance of one another, also gunned down. The county and the community made national news for all the wrong reasons.
Another preacher stood in a pulpit, standing above four caskets, looking out at blacks and whites, grieving together.
“What are we going to do now?” he said. “What can we do now?” He paused to let the words reach the back pew.
“We’re just going to have to Plow On. Plow On. Plow On.”
My friend was there. He knew exactly what the preacher was saying. Exactly.
Plow On. Plow On. Plow On.
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