The Lessons of Bryce’s Life

The Lessons of Bryce’s Life – by Rodger Mangold II

NOTE: 3 years ago today Bryce’s family experienced perhaps the saddest day they will ever experience – Bryce passed away suddenly and far too early for us all. Our hearts still are holding up the family in prayer and love. May we never forget this young man and the lessons his brief life taught us all.

Full of promise, eyes that glistened, a boy that was “all-boy” to the end,
Little Bryce Pierson’s life is gone, a shock to his family and friends.

A 7-year-old, that lived life to the fullest, brought joy to his mom and his dad,
A smile that was sure to melt your heart, now the family is broken and sad.

You’ll hear words like, “Bryce is in a better place, he’s certainly now with the Lord,”
Words meant to bring you great comfort, but your heart isn’t any less sore.

Uncontrollable tears will fall from your eyes; your heart will pound out of your chest,
Don’t you dare look back with an ounce of regret, Jeff and Sheri you both did your best.

To dwell on the loss of this precious boy could rob you of the joy that he brought us,
Look back if you can on the happy times, and the lessons his short life has taught us.

Grass stains, ripped blue jeans, untied shoes; all just par for the course,
Run, romp, play, enjoy life, live each moment without chance of remorse.

Oh, to be 7 years old again, we live vicariously through the next generation,
To live care-free, from one adventure to the next, no regrets worthy of mention.

Why not take each day as Bryce did, looking forward to the promise within,
Take time to enjoy life’s pleasures, like the sunrise, the sunset, and the wind.

Simple things we’ve taken for granted, working hard to pay off all our debt,
Our children really need more time with us, another chance we may never get.

Hug your children tighter, longer, and more often, kissing them from head to toe,
Tickle them till they laugh, rock them when they cry, reach for their hand to hold.

We know that children are a gift from God, sometimes that seems like a chore,
As small as they are, they won’t be forever, so cherish them all the more.

There’s no doubt in our mind, you’ll miss dear Bryce, an untimely end to be sure,
May God grant you comfort and peace in your hearts, only He truly holds the cure.

The Lord knew Heaven was incomplete without Bryce, but for us it’s all just too abrupt,
He’s up there with Jesus, his mansion complete, where no moth, or rust can corrupt.

Let’s not forget, Jesus loves the little children, red and yellow, black and white,
We see the death of Bryce as a loss, but to the Lord, it’s precious in His sight.

Let the fondness of Bryce’s memory and the reflection of his smile, give warmth to your sorrowful soul,
Let the promise of seeing him again bring you peace; when reunited his sweet hand you’ll hold.

Dedicated to the family, written by Rodger D. Mangold II

The Gamut of Grief

Preface
What I am about to share was derived from my response to an email I received from a very good friend of mine who was encouraging me to allow “grief” to run its course. This may not make any sense to you, but I found that as I wrote it, it helped me process what I have been feeling over the almost 2 months since Dad passed away.

Coping with Grief
The thing I’ve learned in this grieving process; there are no real rules. Rule books go out the window. People tell you what they “think,” but you can’t “think” your way through grief. It’s a journey. Albeit, a journey we all dread. It’s very much a journey of the heart over the head. And the thing is…there’s no shortcut here. It simply is going to take time. At times I feel numbness, which I feel is more of a feeble attempt at a coping strategy for me. When the emotions well up, I take the time I need. Experts try to describe it and have even given stages to it. But honestly, there’s no replacement for going through it yourself. People try to console you, and I’m grateful for their love, support, and understanding. But, people that have been where I am now, are the ones I find the greatest comfort from. Everyone else can try to help, and I welcome their love, but those that have experienced this pain can relate; often without words. I have to admit, in the past I’ve lost loved ones (cousins, grandparents, and friends), but it’s NOTHING like losing Dad.

The Gamut of Grief

I just can’t sit and dwell on the loss of my dad, to do so would be to rob me and my family of what I gained from having such a great father. What’s amazing; with my dad, you can literally be crying one minute and the very next be laughing. While that sounds like a dichotomy of emotions, that’s just how it’s worked for me. People “worry” when someone loses a loved one if they don’t cry “enough”…I have…but each person expresses their grief differently. Crying helps, but is just one small aspect of the grieving process. There’s the heartache, the withdrawals, the emptiness, the loneliness, the anguish, the sleeplessness, the hunger loss, the denial, the anger, the doubt, the confusion, the questions…the list goes on and on.

Dad is Still Teaching Me
I thought with the passing of my father that I would no longer be able to learn from him; not true. I’ve learned a great deal from him even though he has passed on.

  • I’ve learned to listen more attentively.
  • Care more deeply.
  • Take more time with loved ones.
  • Linger longer with loved ones.
  • We need one another.
  • Our life isn’t about what we’ve done; it’s about who we’ve become.
  • Rather than be bitter about the moments you’ll miss – be grateful for the ones you’ve had.
  • To obsess over the joys you’ll never again experience, is to overlook the joys yet on your horizon.
  • When someone says their sick – even if you think they’re not, if they’re feeling it, be sympathetic.
  • Sometimes people can’t always put into words what or how they feel; they just need someone to listen and take them seriously.
  • You’ll never have enough time with a loved one – you’ll always want just one more moment, one more day, one more phone call, one more email, one more voicemail.
  • The things you’ll miss the most are the hugs, the warm embraces, the touch of their hand, the sound of their voice, the sound of their laughter, the excitement in their eyes, the times you laughed together and the times you cried.
  • The slowest thing to heal is a broken heart – sometimes it never completely recovers.
  • Don’t put-off saying what needs to be said.
  • There are just some things you will never fully understand…in this life.
  • Death and the loss it brings touches more than just the family of the loved one.

I Don’t Want to Get Over Losing Dad
This is going to sound strange, but I don’t want to “get over” losing my dad. I want the tenderness of his memory to make me still get emotional. Whether it makes me laugh or cry, I want the full impact of his memory to live on inside of me. Even if it hurts to think of him, I still want it. Even if it makes me cry for no reason, and at the wrong times, I still want it. My dad made me laugh more in his lifetime than some fathers could do in 10 lifetimes. The occasional bout with tears are a small price for the laughter he brought me…and continues to bring me when I least expect it in the fondness of his memory.

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Update: The 3rd year my father’s passing, August 7, 2011 has come and recently there have been friends and family who have lost loved ones.  As a way to remind myself of the lessons, and to encourage others, I decided to update and re-post this article. My prayer is these words bless you and that you feel not only my hand in yours, but ultimately the Lord’s Hand of comfort most of all, as you join others on this journey I call the “Gamut of Grief.” ~ Rodger Mangold

A Cowboy Called Home – by Rodger Dale Mangold II

February 10th 1949 brought the birth of a new baby boy,
Bud and Dovie called him Rodger Dale, inspired by a cowboy named Roy.

Just six years old when Gunsmoke aired, little Rodger Dale at once was smitten,
He wanted to be like Marshall Dillon, then again, what little boy his age didn’t?

The likes of Paladin and James T. West, blazed the trail for this young buckaroo,
As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans strummed guitar and crooned, “Happy trails to you.”

“Hi-yo Silver away,” atop his fiery horse, the masked Lone Ranger shouts,
His trusty side-kick Tonto just ahead, as each trail for danger he scouts.

Rodger’s boyhood was filled with cowboys and Indians, ranchers, rustlers, and wranglers,
But a good cowboy welcomes anyone to the campfire; partners, drifters, even strangers.

The years were kind to Cowboy Rodger, as he traveled the trails of life,
God blessed him with 3 buckaroos of his own, when sweet Deanna became his wife.

He worked hard each day to earn a living; that was the “Cowboy Way.”
As hard as he worked, sunup to sundown, he always took time to pray.

Everyday would find him singing or whistling; he was sure to make you smile,
He had a great big heart, and list of fine qualities, that went on for country mile.

At times Life would try to get the drop on Rodger, but his draw was fast as lightening,
With a wink and smile, that’s all it would take and your day was sure to brighten.

He lovingly showed us the “ropes,” always “steering” us in the right direction,
At times he’d have to “corral” us, but we knew he had the best of intentions.

He had some rough rides and saddle sores, but loved the Lord first and foremost,
Jesus deputized Rodger one New Year’s Eve night, filling him with the Holy Ghost!

Liberty Vance, Hopalong Cassidy, the “Duke” – John Wayne himself,
The “Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry, now fond memories upon Life’s shelf.

In the distance I hear “Load ’em up, move ’em out, Rawhide!” and “Yippee-ki-yay!”
Just slogans of yesteryear’s cowboys that have all but faded away.

“Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above…Don’t fence me in.”
God’s prepared a ranch the size of Texas, for our faithful father and friend.

With cowboy boots and Stetson hat, a six-gun strapped to his side,
The cowboy I called “Daddy” has taken his heavenly ride.

Cowboy Rodger has gone to his heavenly home, where the deer and the antelope play,
He’s up there with Papaw, ridin’ the range, where the skies are not cloudy all day.

“Some trails are happy trails and some trails are blue,”
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
There’s a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you…until we meet again. We love you Dad!

February 10, 1949 – August 7, 2008

(Written August 28, 2008)

The Dry Season

The sun is scorching you with what feels like laser beams of radiating heat. There’s an annoying ringing in your ears and a pounding sensation in your head. As the sand hits your face it feels tiny needles piercing your skin. The wind, it doesn’t stop here; it’s a force that continuously shifts sand and stone altering the landscape beyond all recognition. At times the gusts, hot and unpredictable, toss you around like the occasional “tumbleweed” that aimlessly races by you as if it were late for an appointment on the other side of the desert. You turn your back to the wind only to find that no matter which way you face, the wind swirls around you and soon you’re in a state of delirium. You don’t know north from south and east from west. Each step you take unknowingly forces you into a diabolical pattern of sorts. You remember hearing somewhere that if you’re right-handed, you likely favor your right leg as well and you will instinctively walk in a large circle, without the guidance of a fixed object or landscape to guide you, you’re lost.

“Just a drop of water,” you say to yourself, “would satisfy me for hours.” Your throat is parched; your tongue feels like an old piece of shoe leather and the grit from the blowing sand has found its way between your teeth as the persistent grains of sand siphon their way through your nose into your mouth. Your eyes are dry and the sand has clogged your tear ducts and each blink brings irritation and pain as your own unforgiving eyelids scrap across the surface of your eye ball like sandpaper.

The thought of dying this way never in a million years occurred to you but now it’s an increasing reality with each labored step you’re feeling closer to your doom. You just knew that you’d grow old wiling away the years in the comfort of your rocking chair.

“Do you hate me God?” You blurt out irreverent and belligerent, letting out a sarcastic chuckle, not expecting an answer anytime soon. “You’ve always been there for me before,” you yell “why are you ignoring me now?” You’d cry if there was an ounce of moisture left in you.

“How did I get here, somewhere I must have taken a wrong turn?” you mumble. “Somehow I must have mad God angry with me!”

Beneath your bare feet you feel something sharp crumble and your eyes become wide with horror as you realize it’s the dry bones of a previous traveler’s fateful demise. What shred of hope you had of survival is now gone. If you make it through this dry barren desert it won’t be by your own cunning and survival instincts. Only God can deliver you now and you become apologetic.

“Of course I know I’m not alone in all this God, I know you’re there. You said you’d always be there but I don’t feel you. I can’t see your hand at work in this. What’s worse is I don’t feel your love in this. Surely I must have done something to deserve this,” as you analyze the events of your life.

It’s easy to allow a sense of foreboding and condemnation to overwhelm you. The hopelessness is too much to bear you can easily see that giving up would be the logical thing to do here. You shrug those feelings off as you trudge on knowing full-well God wouldn’t purposely thrust you into a trial that would destroy you.

There’s a sudden silence and everything stops. Granules of sand pause in mid-air and the pounding of the sand against your wind-beaten skin stops. The throbbing in your head is gone, the sun’s torturing heat subsides and all is quiet.

There’s a whisper in the distance. As quiet as it is around you, your thoughts are still charged and your mind is still racing. You can’t make out what it is. It sounds like a still small voice, strangely familiar yet indiscernible.  You shake your head as if to loosen the incessant thoughts in your brain. “Is this one of those optical illusions or a mirage?” You question.

There it is again, yes, it is a voice, but not just any voice; the voice of a man. You’re quickly humbled as you realize just whose voice it is. There’s comfort in His tone, yet strength. There’s power yet compassion. You are suddenly and wonderfully aware of the presence of your Heavenly Father. The dangers you were surrounded with have been whisked away. The impending doom has turned to peaceful serenity. The moisture has returned to your eyes evidenced by the warm tears that run down your face. They’re not tears of sorrow but of joy unspeakable and full of glory. You feel the brush of a gentle finger wipe the tears from your eyes.

As abruptly as the winds ceased you were carried away to a place that was lush and green. The breezes were gentle and calm. There were sloping valleys and majestic mountain ranges. You found yourself beside a pool of cool clear water but strangely enough the desire for water had been satisfied not by this pool but by the exchange between you and your Savior. Moments ago you would have killed for a DROP of this water but somehow your appetite for things fleshly has changed. You realize man shall not live by bread alone but by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God. As thirsty as your body had been for the cool clear water, you see now that the desert was only a type and shadow of what your soul has been enduring for many years.

There’s been leanness in your soul; a famine for the hearing of the Word of the Lord. The dearth in your soul can only be satisfied by seeking the face of the Master. He’s tenderly pleading for you to spend time in His presence. What you thirst for now are not the pleasures of this life. What you hunger for is not the fresh warm bread of the baker. Your soul is longing for communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The desperation you felt in your body was painfully paralleled spiritually in your soul. The peril your body was experiencing has been a way of life with your soul for ages. You go day after day forcing your soul to get by on the dryness never affording it the joy and release it has so desperately longed for. Your soul delights in the presence of Jesus Christ yet you let days without number go by without so much as a whispered prayer. Your wilderness experience has given you valuable insight into things eternal…things that really matter. This wasn’t some arbitrary test meant to debase and demoralize you. Remarkably, your walk through the wilderness, that dry barren land, was a painful process but had a powerful purpose. You questioned God’s presence and motive in your trial when in reality He engineered it for the benefit of your soul. Now all you can do is praise Him for revealing this life-changing truth to you before it was too late.

Psalm 63:1-5 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

By Pastor RDM

Memorial Picture of Cowboy Rodger – Happy Trails to You!

I’ve shared this with most of my family already, but wanted to keep it on the blog as well as a way of archiving and of course remembering my precious dad. I know this may not mean very much if you’re a visitor, but were it not for this man, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. He encouraged me every step of the way. My dad believed I could do anything if I put my mind to it. We need more dads that believe in their kids like that.

 

We’re gonna miss you Dad, thanks for always wishing us “Happy trails…until we meet again!” 

The Passing of My Hero – Rodger Mangold, Sr.

The Mangolds

Sadly, my father passed away Thursday August 7, 2008, at 4:55 a.m. due to complications from pancreatic cancer. We believed we had days left with him, but it turned out to be just hours. After having a biopsy on Tuesday, the doctors discovered he was in the final stages of pancreatic cancer for which no treatment was available. He was a wonderful husband and loving father. We will miss him so much.

The family covets your prayers during this sudden and traumatic loss of my dad. We wish to also extend a special thanks to each of that prayed for his recovery and for those that have worked tirelessly to be hospitable to our out-of-town guests.

Sincerely and gratefully, Pastor RD Mangold II

See Bro. Mangold’s Obituary Here

Funeral Arrangements – REVISED AS OF 8.08.08
Friday 8.7.08 – At Apostolic Lighthouse Church of Southgate (See Map)
Family visitation – 2:00 p.m. 
General Visitation – 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Memorial Service – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday 8.8.08 – At Apostolic Lighthouse Church of Southgate (See Map)
NEW Visitation – 9:00 a.m.
Funeral Service – 10:00 a.m.

Luncheon to follow at 2:30 p.m. at Grace Apostolic Church of Clawson (See Map)

There will be no funeral procession. The family will be having a private graveside service directly after the funeral.