In Honor of Otha Lowe and Irven Lee Fiftieth Anniversary
When Mike Willis called and asked me to write something in honor of the Golden Wedding Anniversary of the Lees, I was happy to oblige. Since I did not know exactly what Mike had in mind, I have tried to decide the best approach to take. As I think of the Lees, I find .the emotions of admiration and gratitude and deep affection vying with one another in my mind. Maybe these thoughts can be expressed as I say something in tribute to them.
Some might wonder who in the world I am and why I should be writing this. It is my great blessing to have married Sandra, the younger daughter of the Lees. Much of what I know about the Lees has come through what I see in Sandra.
It was over twenty-five years ago I first saw and heard anything of the Lees. That was Sandra. She was working in the business office of Florida College. I did not realize it then, but a pattern was being set: I gave her a check for $250.00. She gave me a receipt. She does not give receipts now! For some reason I saved that receipt and now a worn, darkened slip of paper with the initials SL adorns one of our scrap books as documentary proof of our very first meeting. As an incredibly backward, ignorant boy, my first meeting Sandra and, through her, her parents, was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Sandra had some boys to show her interest because she was, Irven Lee's daughter. That was not my motive because I had no idea who Irven Lee was at the time. I just did not realize what a bonus I was getting in having the Lees as in-laws.
Through the years, the Lee's family, or tribe as Daddy Lee calls it, has consisted of Judy, her husband, Wayne Moore, their two sons, Kirk and Kevan, Sandra and me, and our children, Laura and Ryan. Recently our -be expanded a little with the marriage of Laura to Scott Black.
When one tries to say what twenty-five years of association with this tribe has meant, the mind becomes a kaleidoscope of memories and emotions. There has been the usual mixture of good with some bad. I think we would all agree that our visits together when the grandchildren were little are the very essence of pleasant memories.
Mommie Lee, Sandra, and Judy all have the remarkable ability to talk and listen simultaneously. Daddy Lee could always break in by saying, "Uh," then pausing until it was quiet, but Wayne and I have just had to bide our time until there was an opening. He and I have spent much time biding. The conversation is always scintillating, very fast-paced, and very comprehensive in subject matter.
Mommie and Daddy Lee are simply two of the very finest people I have ever known. They have some flaws as does everyone, but I have never known two more godly people. They never slip out of character. They move through this world and its wickedness without ever soiling their robes. What one sees of them in public is the same anywhere. Their deep love for God and His will is their guiding light, their spiritual energy. Their enemies could follow them about and try to catch them in wrongdoing and, as the case of Daniel, their enemies would fail (Dan. 6:4-5).
They are fun-loving and enjoy good humor, but holiness is ever about them. Both of them are devout students of the Bible. Their family life with their two little girls was conducted so that the world with its corruption was kept far away. Yet so deeply was faith and commitment to God instilled in Judy and Sandra that when they faced the assault of the world, their shield proved strong and their armor complete.
I learned much of life and character from my parents, but what I have become now is due in large part to the influence of the Lees through their daughter Sandra. Honor, responsibility, joy in hard work, a pure, unselfish love and incredible devotion to any cause espoused is what I have seen and what I have learned from them.
Naturally, Mommie and Daddy Lee are not the same. They are remarkably different in many of their characteristics. In their own way, both are noble characters. Daddy Lee has spent himself unstintingly in the Lord's work. He has preached more sermons than most men of his or any other generation. He has established more churches than anyone of this modern era that I know of. At home though, he had an incomparable keeper of the fires. I have told him before, that he could have summarized all his advice on rearing children and having a good home by saying to be sure and marry a woman who would love her husband and children and who would share with those children her own childlike delight in the stories of God's marvelous works, and who would provide the discipline and the moral stamina they would need.
Mommie Lee is the center of the home. Through thick and thin, she has given herself to her husband and to her children. She is a woman who has chosen to exercise her very considerable intellectual gifts in attaining a profound understanding of God's word and in sharing her knowledge and insight through classes and through the written word.
One of the things that has impressed me most about their marriage is that there are enough differences in personality and temperament in Mommie and Daddy Lee that if their marriage had been in the spirit of this age, they might have gone their separate ways. But to them, marriage was a sacred commitment in the eyes of God, not only to remain together, but to love one another. This they have done and have taught their children to do.
How heavy upon my shoulders do the challenges of the future lie when I contemplate life without them. Yet, as they celebrate their fiftieth anniversary and mark this milestone well toward the end of their journey, I take comfort in knowing that their influence will help to guide us. I know that they can rejoice in the anticipation of heaven, and all of us, both family and friends, hope that they can also find satisfaction in knowing they have provided us with a legacy more precious than gold.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 9, pp. 273, 277