My father, Walter (Wally), had a certain way of doing things. It’s not that anyone called him Wally to his face, but it did become a running joke among his family. For example: “It has to be done Wally’s way”, which melded into “Ollie’s way”. Fitting, since he had a way of calling people, pets and things by special nicknames. His girls became Suebee, Jubee, Jeebee, and Patter. His two younger sons were the bugger boys until my two sons inherited it. Julie’s dog, Angel, was Angie. He had a unique way of doing everything and I sure am going to miss Ollie’s Way, but I suspect that we all have a little bit of “Ollie’s way” within us.
I firmly believe that God gives each of us, not only specific challenges, but a specific ministry. Most would wonder what type of ministry would be given to a man who worked hard his entire life, raised a family of 9 children, insisted his wife be a stay at home mom to love and take care of the home and children, had strong moral values, good Christian beliefs, knew his Bible like no one I know, taught Sunday school when his children were young, made sure his children were baptized as infants and schooled in the ways of God, knelt with his children each night to recite night prayers, made monetary sacrifices to send his children to private Catholic schools and worked as an usher shuffling the collection plate during Sunday masses. A man who, until life let him down and the Church let him down (Vatican II), had regular Sunday barbeques and invited the Priests and his fellow Catholic laymen for feasts fit for a King, a man who gleefully fed anyone needing or just wanting a meal. What could God ask of this good man? I don’t claim to know God’s intentions for my dad, but I do know that after I buried my husband, Ronald Thibodeaux Sr., I learned a lot about the ministry that God gave to my father, the man who had stopped attending Sunday mass and to all on lookers seemed to be destined to have serious regrets regarding his Christian life. God understood the man he was dealing with and chose to work with him, as he so beautifully does for each of us. My dad was very upset at Ronald’s death and worried about his daughter. He prayed, and prayed. I never even knew he still prayed before that time in January 1997. He prayed for me, as he prayed for all of his children that he loved much more than any of us ever realized AND much to my surprise he prayed for Ronald continually. One day a few months after Ronald’s passing, my father told me of a dream he had. He dreamed that he and I were riding in his red truck on the highway and the truck broke down. We were pondering our dilemma when Ronald drove up in his blue truck. The striking part of the dream to my dad (and me) was that when Ronald got out of the truck he was all dressed in pure, bright, blinding white. As Dad told me the story, he said that even Ronald’s hair and beard were the whitest white he’d ever seen. He described for me incredible vivid details, like what I was wearing and other details that I feel certain would not be so vivid in a normal dream, besides, I’m not sure that my dad had ever noticed what I wore. That was not his style. In his dream Ronald repaired the vehicle, working diligently under the hood of Dad’s truck. Once the truck was running again, Ronald stepped back and said “Everything is OK now”. Ronald returned to the blue truck and drove away. The thing that my dad emphasized once again was the whiteness, the pureness of this man that I have loved more than anyone in this life. Dad was so touched by his dream, and told me that he just could not fathom that Ronald had worked under the hood of his truck, yet not a blemish or spec of dirt, grease, etc. had contaminated his purity. My dad was pleased to see Ronald in his splendor and grateful to God for hearing his prayers. I too was overwhelmed with the beauty and joy of it all. I am grateful to my dad for sharing his dream with me, grateful for his love, and grateful for his ministry…praying for the deceased. I learned from Dad after he shared his dream with me that he consistently prayed for the dead. Not only did he pray when he prayed his night prayers, but he prayed each and every time he lay down for a nap. I also learned from him how much these departed souls appreciated his prayers. When Dad got the flu a few years ago, he dreamed of appearances from his mother and his mother-in-law. He was privy to information about their whereabouts in the next dimension. His mother, he learned was in Heaven, his mother-in-law in Purgatory. Dad continued to pray for Grandma Jacob as he was fully aware of her need for his prayers. I know that the grateful souls he so lovingly ministered to were there to greet my father as he made his journey to the other side. This gives me an enormous amount of peace. I know that he is home and he will be there for me when my God calls me home. I know that he is praying for his loved ones that are still making their journey here on Earth.
I thank you Dad for so very much, especially for sharing with me the story of your ministry. I love you always as much as a daughter can love a father
Your beloved JuBee.