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Miz Lou Browns ‘Ships of life’

I count it a privilege to have known Pat and Lou Brown.  Visits with them in the two-story, rambling house down on their farm in southern Covington County were unforgettable.

Getting out of the car, we were always greeted by their guineas screeching, “Packrat,” something shocking to a city girl who had never heard those noisy birds.  Mr. Pat always made coffee and they both made interesting conversation.

Miz Lou, as she was affectionately called, wrote a column in the Andalusia Star-News for many years.  Many years ago, a collection of her columns was published in the book titled, “My Country Roads.”

Her wit and wisdom made me want to spend time with Miz Lou and read her words.  After several visits with her, I wanted to write her biography.  Having interviewed with Miz Lou and Mr. Pat for a newspaper article, I knew her life story would be an inspiration to others. Their courtship story reminds me of the novel, Christy, by Katherine Marshall.

When doctors told Miz Lou she had cancer, I determined it was time to approach her with the idea.  “What if we get started and I kick the bucket?” she said matter-of-factly.  Maybe she didn’t consider her life interesting content for a book, or didn’t want to spend the last days of her life writing about her years.

During a visit one afternoon, she mentioned a speech she had given to a youth group.  She talked to them about the “ships of life.”  Let me tell you about those ships that we sail on through this voyage we call life.  I’ve added a few more to Miz Lou’s list.

Come aboard citizenship.  It offers rights and responsibilities like voting and paying taxes.  Get involved in your community and you might even find yourself in leadership.

Set your sails on scholarship.  Start this trek from the first day of school by earning high marks.  Scholarship continues beyond higher education.  Learning is a lifelong apprenticeship.

Everyone experiences relationship.  Your parents, spouse, and children are important passengers on your travel through life, not to mention people with whom you form lasting friendships.  Enjoy the fellowship of spending time with close friends.    

The most crucial relationship to establish is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It involves more than church membership.  Your duty will include discipleship and worship to our Creator.  As the Psalmist wrote, “Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6 NKV).

You will find strength to face the storms of life that bring hardships when you spend time in fellowship with Christ.  Take it from a first century writer who traveled by ship to preach the Gospel.  The apostle Paul tells us Christians can find strong encouragement by holding fast to our hope in God.  It’s a hope, sure and steadfast, that is an anchor for the soul.

Jan White is a national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at jan@janwhitewriter.com