Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

January 4, 2010

SWEETTALK

Thinking of three friends who are in a better place

<b>By Guinn Sweet</b><br><a href="mailto:sweettalk@mineralwellsindex.com">sweettalk@mineralwellsindex.com</a>

There is an old southern superstition that suggests that when one dies, two more will follow.

My Granny believed in this implicitly, to the point when the second person died, she started wondering if she would be number three. To tell the truth, I felt that I really didn’t believe the superstition, but nevertheless I always waited for others to follow when there was one death in my family, church or neighborhood.

Whether you care to believe it or not, the result has more often than not proved the superstition. It recently happened again. The week before Christmas, two very precious members of Victory Baptist Church passed from this life to the next, and are now in the presence of the Lord. Then, on Christmas Day another loved one followed, again “proving” the saying.

An old Christian soldier, J.E. Whizenant, died at the age of 91 after having spent much of the past year in a nursing home in Granbury. “Brother Whiz” had become a Christian while watching a young soldier die reciting the 23rd Psalm. He proved himself a faithful warrior, both in the World War II European theater and in service to his Lord, being honored by both with medals and commendations.

During his ministry, Bro. Whiz started more than 100 churches and served as pastor in those and in many others all over the country. He was known and loved for his faithfulness, his hearty “amen” of approval for the words other preachers were professing and stayed true to both his Lord and his sweet wife of many, many years. “Mama” passed away several years ago, and he had begun at that time to look forward to joining her in their heavenly home. He did just that on Friday before Christmas.

Barbara Ticzkus, just 62 years old, followed him quickly. She was the mother of two, Matthew and Patti, both involved in Victory Baptist Academy. He is the administrator and she the curriculum director of that new work at our church. Barbara was a fan of the Hawaiian islands. She considered them a gift from God because of their great beauty in which He revealed Himself. After years of visiting, a few years ago they purchased a home there. After the children both were in Texas, the home was sold and they came to Texas to live. Last spring, Barbara and Jeff paid their last visit to the islands. She returned ill from that trip and went immediately to hospital care, where she was found to have multiple cancers. Only a few months later, she succumbed to the ravages of that menace, and was ushered into good health, eternal life and a home beyond Hawaii, to glory in forever. I can hear her laughing now and enjoying herself!

The third to die was Ann Bolen, the mother of my first two grandsons. Although she and my son could not remain a couple, I remained her “mom.” Ann was a strong-willed person who took control of every focus of her life. She was a hard worker, a Christian lady, but one who was not beyond cancer as well. She was strong enough to conquer the cancer, but by the time it was over, her system was depleted of health, and for the next two years she succumbed to anorexia, spent much time in hospitals and homebound activities. On Christmas Eve I talked to her by phone and was told that she had fallen from a ladder while trimming her Christmas tree and broke her hip. She died that night, at age 62.

Obviously, all three of these loved ones are in a far better place today. All are well and free of pain for the first time in years. The superstition of three deaths in a row is now put to rest until the next three. But my heart aches, not for them to be restored to this “life,” but for the loss of their actual presence in my life.

My heart surges for the good times and the good memories of those times. All three enjoyed a good laugh, a prank and another soul reconciled to the Lord. I hope to catch up with all of you when the time is right!