The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


January 11, 2014

Listening to that still, small voice

Keeping The Faith column

Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published July 10, 2010. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

I was in a salvage yard looking for a car part when I spotted it.

An old black high-top sneaker hung precariously out the front floor board on the driver’s side of a mangled Corvette with a missing door.

Leaning on a rusty guardrail of the fence enclosing the junk yard, I felt my heart sink. What a mess! Gnarled metal everywhere. Windshields shattered as though they had been punched out by giant fists. Grills folded like flimsy pop cans crumpled by massive hands.

“Any of 'em yours?” a man’s voice asked. “No, at least I don’t think so,” I said, surprised by his presence. “Where do they all come from?”

“All over. Wreckers bring 'em in. We break 'em down for parts, then stack 'em for the crushers.”

I asked if he ever heard the stories about the wrecks that had totaled the vehicles of every size, shape, make and model.

“Sometimes I do,” he said.

I pointed to the Corvette and the sneaker. Before I could frame a question, the man’s jaw tightened. He began to speak with increasing difficulty. “Yeah, that one was real bad. Young boy on his way home from basketball practice. Thought he could outrun a train. Didn’t work.”

The salvage man turned and began slowly walking away. Over his slumped shoulders he managed to choke out two words — “my son.”

I reached for the man’s arm and pulled him back. “I’m so sorry. How long ago?” I asked.

“Oh, 'bout a year now, I guess. The haulers have been by several times to take the 'vette away, but somehow I can’t let it go. I can’t bring myself to throw away his shoe, either,” the salvage man said with lead in his voice.

I wanted to offer soothing words of comfort, talk about God’s sovereign will or share a comforting Scripture. Instead, I listened to that still small voice inside quoting one of the Proverbs to me: “There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

I kept silent, but offered my presence and my full attention. Within a moment or two, the man was pouring out his heart. Devastated by his son’s death, this former pastor had left the ministry. He couldn’t forgive God for taking his son.

Suddenly, he stood up straight, cleared his throat and got back to business. I let it drop. He didn’t have the part I needed, but I drove away praying for the salvage man. I’ve prayed for him many times since then and wondered often if I should have said more.

Last week, more than two years after the encounter, a well-dressed gentleman walked into my cubicle. He stood there grinning like a Cheshire cat but said nothing. Suddenly, I recognized him.

I have his permission to share the end of his story but not his name. A series of events led the salvage man back to a faith in God that enabled him to move on with life. He’s back in the ministry and using his experiences to help others who are closed down in the vice grip of grief.

I told him I felt guilty for not trying to offer some words of encouragement at the time. He quickly set me straight. “No, I’m so thankful you didn’t. I knew I was away from God, and I had been lectured by friends, family members and fellow clergy. I needed to be able to voice what I was feeling to someone who wouldn’t come back at me with a bunch of pious platitudes.

“That day was a turning point for me. Just getting some of that poison out was like cleaning an infected wound. It opened the door for me to go get some professional counseling. Sometimes people just need to vent to someone who doesn’t try to fix their problem.”

“A time to be silent and a time to speak.” Lord, give us all the wisdom to listen to that still small voice that tells us which one is appropriate at a given moment. Amen.

Text Only
  • 072314 Life CrossFit 4.jpg Crossfit Nation: Working out the WOD way

    Just as fashion trends come and go, so do fitness fads, and Cyndie Chinn had tried them all.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • downsize 1 Living large in smaller spaces

    How is it possible that as your nest gets emptier, your garage gets fuller? Living off the grid sounds tantalizing — the extreme version of paring down. But are you ready for solar panels and growing your own groceries or would a smaller home do the trick?

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Relishing the faith of little children

    July 19, 2014

  • Guns 1 ‘Guns’ for Life

    With the latest World Health Organization figures showing global life expectancy increasing from 64 years in 1990 to 70 years in 2011, staying healthy enough to add quality to the quantity of life is an important consideration.

    July 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • coconut 4 Crack open the power of the coconut

    Now let’s get this straight …
      We know about Parrotheads. And Cheeseheads. But when did Coconut Heads become cool?
    Move over, argan — you are so last season. Another exotic oil is taking lead role in everything from shampoo to weight-loss supplements. That cast-iron skillet seasoning, stretch-mark banishing essence of the hour is — coconut oil.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Free summer serenade concert to be held

    Aurora Celtic, sponsored by Ivy & Stone, presents the free Summer Serenade concert Saturday at 6 p.m. on the Brown House lawn in Summersville.

    July 13, 2014

  • WVU Extension: Healthy summer eating tips for all occasions

    Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

    July 13, 2014

  • new BAF fund Endowment still helping students attend college

    The “Beckley College, College of West Virginia, Mountain State University and University of Charleston-Beckley Alumni Association Fund” has the distinction of having the longest name of any of the 400 permanent endowments managed by the Beckley Area Foundation.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • My faith is an anchor to hold on to

    July 12, 2014

  • 062514 Life Piloxing 3.jpg Wellness Wednesdays: One-Two, Punch!

    In a fast-paced blend of pilates, boxing and dance, a popular group exercise class at the YMCA called Piloxing is a sure way to increase cardio and build long, lean muscles.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos