“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…” – 2 Timothy 3:14After we buried Granny we gathered at my aunt’s house for the customary deluge of food provided by several local churches. We sat at one end of the downstairs great room with my cousin Ken (on leave from the army) and my cousin Tammy with her two sons, Cody and Mac.
Cody is a tall 15 year-old whom I hadn’t seen in over two years. His voice has changed; before, he could make a turkey call without the aid of a diaphragm. He hunts deer, crows, doves, and turkeys with rifles, muzzle-loaders and shotguns. His goal this upcoming deer season is to hunt with a bow. He is not ashamed to admit that up until this point he hasn’t been strong enough to properly draw a bow. He is reverent enough to acknowledge that a man ought not use a bow unless he can put the arrow clean through his quarry’s heart. An animal that suffers brings shame upon the hunter.
His speech was punctuated with “sir’s” and “ma’am’s.”
Cody’s younger brother Mac is a frail, bespectacled youth; my son notes, “He always looks nervous.” Cody was aware of his brother languishing beside me on a folding chair, so he inserted, “Now, here is the fisherman in this family. Nobody can catch a fish like ol’ Mac” – a statement that drew my attention to the younger boy, who relayed his story of placing first in a bass tournament at age 5, winning a boat his parents promptly sold. “Oh, it was awright,” he drawled, “we already had a nicer bass boat, anyway.”
While Mac talked Cody got up and asked each of us if he could collect our paper plates for the waste basket. When he strode away I leaned over to his mother and said, “You have raised a gentleman.”
I have found hunters to be among the gentlest and contemplative of man’s race. Cody is following in the lineage of great men who reverence God and His creation. I wanted to pull him aside and whisper in his hear,
Don’t ever change, son. Continue to do right for its own sake, especially when this world punishes you for it. For you will not be rewarded in this life for doing good; you will instead be hated and despised and slandered. It is then that your faith and goodness will be proven. Your Father above sees when no one else will.
May God continue to send Cody’s into this age until it ends.