Lillie Bell Goes Home

We walked with Lillie Bell as far as we could, but at the edge of the long gangplank she left us behind, walking toward the great ship alone.  I had hoped at some point she would turn and wave, but her gaze never varied and her step never faltered, she was resolute in her desire to reach the next destination.

The sun was breaking over the horizon. Brilliant shades of coral and gold defined the line between the sea and the sky. The darkness of the night fled before the piercing rays that announced a new day, a new beginning.

I shielded my eyes in an attempt to make out the details before me.  The crew that welcomed her aboard, back-lit by the rising sun, appeared to glow against the azure sky as if they had wings.

The morning breeze picked up as the sails began to unfurl. Even at this distance, I heard the snap as the canvas caught the wind, becoming taunt, straining to be on their way. The ship was ancient, but the workmanship was beyond compare. Each wood plank polished and tightly fitted against its brethren, The sails were as pure a white as I have seen. As the crew cast off the lines and the ship turned slowly toward the horizon, the stern swung around revealing the name, “ZION,” spelled out in letters of gold

Surrounded by family and friends, we exchanged hugs and smiles, unspoken was the sentiment … it was time. We watched as the ship grew smaller and smaller until it was just a white dot. When the vessel slipped over the horizon and out of our sight, we raised our hands triumphantly and cheered.

Lillie Bell’s journey had been long, her pilgrimage lasting 102 years. Through it all she had steadfastly followed her Savior. For 78 of those years she had walked alongside her other great love, Ray. She had never been without those who loved her, and she returned that love in even greater measure.

Though we could no longer see the ship, we knew it was headed for another port. There, a great multitude awaited her arrival, watching as the ship which had disappeared from our sight grew larger and larger in their field of vision.

The gangplank at the port Lillie Bell had embarked from was constructed of wood planks, rough and splintered with age, turned a weathered grey by the sun and salt spray. The gangplank the ship was turning into at this port was of white marble, gleaming under a cloudless sky. It led to a circular courtyard. In the center of the courtyard was an intricate design of three interlocked circles constructed of gem stones and defined on the outer edges by bands of gold.

On either side of the courtyard, halfway around it’s circumference, were a pair of sweeping stairs, also made of white marble. They lead to a balcony that overlooked the courtyard. Built into the wall behind the courtyard and below the balcony was an alcove containing a large marble statue of a lamb, its foreleg resting over a  slender gold cross  extending over its back.

A solitary figure stood on the balcony, his white robes gleaming under a light-source that had no definable origin. He rested his elbows on the balustrade, fingers locked together, faint scars visible on the back of each hand. Looking down at the assembled crowd on the courtyard  a smile crossed his face before he addressed his children. “Lillie Bell has fought a good fight, she has kept the faith. Today I called her home … it was time.”

Among the crowd were old friends and family. Saints who had toiled alongside Ray and Lillie Bell in the vineyard. The Morgans, the Chambers, the Boxes, the Wallaces, Roams and Yadons … too many to name, and of course members of the Boatman and Agnew families.

Standing slightly apart from the crowd was a tall man with dark wavy hair, a slight grin on his face. “It’s about time,” he said with a slow Texas drawl, “She was always running late for everything.” He laughed and started to walk toward the gangplank, “It’s about time.”


Lillie Bell Agnew
December 25, 1915 – March 8, 2018

12 thoughts on “Lillie Bell Goes Home

  1. Crying like a baby. Donald was a fellow student in my class at Sherman High School. This tribute to your mother brought such happy tears. Your writing is outstanding. Thank you for this. What a wonderful tribute to a great lady! With love and sympathy, Brownie Ellis MacKie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim this is so very beautiful…. your mother was an amazing loving woman.. she had compassion for everyone… when my husband and I first came to New Life many many years ago we got involved in the nursing home Ministry…. your mother found out that I liked and collected clowns… she got a plastic candy jar from the bookstore there at New Life and painted it for me and she put clowns on it… I still have that displayed in my home and I’ve always counted it as such a treasure because I know she gave it from her heart… this was beautifully beautifully written.. thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts!!!!

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    1. She gave me the gift that she painted just to say how much she appreciated our efforts and going to the nursing home that’s how thoughtful she was

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  3. Such a lovely tribute to your beloved mother, we are sorry for your loss. We know you have a lifetime of treasured memories of your parents and that they will watch over you and yours all the rest of your days. We know your faith will be the light moving you all forward in the days ahead.

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  4. Sweet words Tim. Your mother was beautiful. I know God will enfold you with His comfort. Such a peace knowing mom is with her LORD and your dear dad.

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  5. Tim, I am so sorry for your lose, however it sounds like it is a celebration of a long well lived life. Wow! 102, she has seen so many things in her life! I hope that I am blessed with the health to live that long. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Laura Bell

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tears! Just the sweetest tribute, Tim! You have always been an exemplary son & they were crazy about you. (I hope your Mom & Dad can read this.) Your parents were two of the most giving people I know & that attribute was passed on to you. You give of yourself through your inspired writings. Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

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