A peace beyond explanation swept over me, and a favorite hymn came to mind

It Is Well, It Is Well, With My Soul

By —— Bio and Archives--December 24, 2017

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Holis Ibsen
In the wee hours of the morning on December 2, 2017, Annabelle, the “baby” of our three daughters, completed the most trying ordeal of her young life. Our baby had a baby!

However, the young woman lying in the hospital bed was not aglow with her usual gorgeous good looks. Instead, she was the picture of utter exhaustion. Her golden blond hair was soaked with sweat, dark circles sagged beneath her eyes, her cheeks were devoid of color, and her lips still bore the grimace of pain. Thirty-one hours of agonizing labor failed to deliver the baby, and it had to be taken by Caesarian section.

Along with her husband Ken, who never left her side during the painful ordeal, we stood silently as she lay in troubled sleep. Finally, her eyes flickered open and she greeted us with a weak smile.

But when a squirming baby boy was placed on her breast, expressing his anger for being taken from the most comfortable environment there is this side of Heaven, Annabelle’s youthful glow lit up her face, expressing an indescribable joy that only mothers can know.

To see a mother cradling a newborn baby is to see our Heavenly Father performing a miracle. Those who don’t believe that God exists, who don’t accept that He is always within us and beside us and always caring for and loving us, need only to witness the miracle we were witnessing.

The boy’s parents named him Hollis, after his great grandfather, Hollis Rogers, who was an Army ranger in World War II. On a reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines, he was captured and spent almost two years as a German prisoner of war camp, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart, along with several other medals for bravery.

So that his great-grandson will enjoy freedoms that most people around the world can only dream about, Corporal Rogers faced extreme danger on the battlefield, followed by unimaginable suffering as a German prisoner in a war camp. He understood what Nelson Mandela, who also spent years behind bars, meant when he said that courage is not “the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Great-grandfather Rogers’ triumph contributed to America’s triumph.

As a proud Vietnam Era veteran, I am grateful that Annabelle and Ken chose to honor Corporal Rogers by naming their son after him. Courage, without which no other virtues can exist, sustained him during his life’s darkest days, and will sustain his namesake when he faces life’s challenges.

As I bent over to kiss the little boy, an experience I will never forget occurred: Only minutes old, little Hollis looked me in the eye courageously and squeezed my finger with one of his tiny little hands.

A peace beyond explanation swept over me, and a favorite hymn came to mind:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say:
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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Jimmy Reed -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jimmy Reed is an Oxford, Mississippi resident, Ole Miss alumnus, Army veteran, former Mississippi Delta cotton farmer, and retired college teacher.

Jimmy’s latest book, One Hundred by Five Hundred is available at Amazon.

His collection of short stories is available via Squarebooks.com, telephone 662-236-2262.

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