Graceland (No, it’s not in Memphis)




“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians 1:21

There is a place, a land of no shadows, where one sees every corner of redemption’s power. When you walk here, you walk in freedom. Every hindrance is removed, bondage wiped out and captivity destroyed. Like I said…freedom…unlike any felt before. Pain has no hold here, not just free of pain but no memory of pain, no remembrance of its grip. Unspeakable joy fills hearts; all surpassing peace swallows up grief, fear and doubt.

This is ultimate healing…this is Graceland.

This is where Jim Breden is walking tonight. As I’m writing he’s experiencing the greatest freedom he’s ever known. He is face-to-face with His Messiah and nose-to-nose with eternity’s promise. My father-in-law passed away October 1, 2012 around 11:30 pm, he was surrounded by family and he left this world peacefully.

A proud Navy veteran, volunteer fireman, Sunday school teacher, husband, father and grandfather…Jim filled his life with…life. He engaged in acts of service as if life depended on it and he was right. Everyday life is dependant on those individuals willing to give of themselves, my wife’s Dad was one of those people. He was also a character, in my mind he was a mixture of James Dean, John Wayne and Popeye…always pulling out a reserve of strength with style and swagger to get a job done. He was every bit of a one of a kind.

I’m so sad that my wife lost her father; I’m sad that he died from a horrible disease and couldn’t finish his race with his body strong and vibrant. Yet the person I saw lying in the Hospice ward of the VA hospital was not the man I will choose to remember. His legacy is much stronger than that.

I remember the night when I went to ask his blessing to marry his daughter Christine and how nervous I was. Every time I worked up the courage to ask, he seemed to know and would leave the room, making me sweat while waiting for him to return. Finally, with much laughter, he came back into the room and gave me his blessing.

Now, it’s his turn…

I’m the one laughing…with joy. For just a few hours ago…Pop walked into his Father’s presence and got His blessing for a job well done. That’s one of the perks of living in Graceland.


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jasonS said…
James Dean, John Wayne, and Popeye--I would definitely say that makes quite a character. :) So glad that no matter how our bodies end up, our lives are measured by our eternal impact. So sorry for your wife's and family's loss, Jay. Thankful for the hope of the reunification someday. Blessings to you, friend.
Jay Cookingham said…
He was a amazing man my friend. Thanks for your support and encouragement bro'!
floyd said…
What a blessing to have a man like that in your life, much less family. I strive to carry the same character and strength given by God to men like Jim through my life. He lived a worthy life, may we do the same.

I'm praying for you and yours in this difficult time. Thanks for sharing the things that matter most.
Jay Cookingham said…
Jim was a amazing man...and he loved his family well. Thanks Floyd!
Joanne Norton said…
Well, Jay, in spite of everything, you made me smile. Being loved and loving... nothing else can be more wonderful. [And, just as with Guy, you will be hugging THIS guy someday.]
Jay Cookingham said…
Joanne, I fully expect to be hugging my father-in-law someday...we didn't hug much here on earth but I think he's perspective is a lot different now!

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