Ruth Dorothy “Dottie” Brooking
September 10, 1929-May 12, 2019
In honor and memory of a wonderful member of our church, Dottie Brooking, I thought I might use this space to share with you some of my words from the Memorial Service of Friday, May 17.
What words can I find to describe a woman like Dottie Brooking? Loving, strong, courageous, hard-working . . . Determined, dedicated, strong-willed . . . Independent, brave, giving. Most all of you here have known Dottie far longer than I, so I'm sure you would have many more words—but somehow I'm at a loss to capture fully in any words my experience of Dot Brooking. And it is hard to talk about Dot without also talking about Charlie because there was rarely one without the other for me, and they just belong together in my mind.
They were engaged 5 or 6 times before sealing the deal, but 71 years later, it was clearly a good choice!
Their devotion to each other has been an inspiration to me and, I'm sure, to many of you. Not only did Dot and Charlie raise Chuck together and give him a loving home and family, but they also ran two restaurants together, worked auto races and demolition derbies together. Dot learned to love hunting and fishing because Charlie loves to hunt and fish, and she wanted to share that enthusiasm and time
They are both totally dedicated to First English Baptist Church. They were married by Rev. Whitney in the (then) church parsonage on 3rd Street by the meeting house. In recent years their health and more limited mobility have made regular church participation a challenge, but with Christina's help they have been present many Sundays recently—even the Sunday before Dot died! And remember, she had been on dialysis for the past 3 years! Still she came. Dot and Charlie both were always a pleasure to visit with!
Always warm, kind, gracious, and friendly. And not once have I ever heard Dot, or Charlie, complain or gripe about anyone or anything. They have not been spared great life challenges either. Charlie is a PT Boat, World War II veteran, as you all know. Charlie later sustained a very serious back injury. Dottie endured a terrible accident with a lawn tractor.
Last Saturday, as our Prayer Breakfast speaker, Charlie offered one of the most personal and moving testimonials about the power of prayer and God's faithfulness in his life—and his and Dot's life together —and he was very open about many personal challenges and obstacles he and Dot have faced. I wish the entire church had heard his witness!
So many times the easy choice would have been to blame or complain or give up—and they chose to pray, to trust God, and to keep going and refuse to collapse into cynicism or bitterness. They are both an inspiration to me and I hope I can be like them in their positive attitude toward life and living.
Dottie was a fighter. One of the toughest persons I think I have ever known. She would not give up. She loved life. She loved Charlie and Chuck and Christina and Amanda and Ashley and Jayden and Denise and all the people around her.
But these bodies of ours here on earth are physical and mortal. They simply do not last forever. That's what the apostle Paul meant when he called his body a “tent,” a kind of temporary and impermanent shelter that lasts only for a brief time.
As we age, we recognize how right he is and, if we are blessed with long life, as Dot was, the tent of our body simple wears out. Dot Brooking lived a very full mortal life—she wanted more but the body could not accommodate her desire.
In our loss we grieve. And losing one so dear is a tremendous pain and hardship; nothing anyone can say or do can remove or lessen that pain, because it is the pain of love. But we know that Dot is no longer suffering and is safe and secure in the Lord's care now. As Paul reminds us, “We grieve, but not as thosewho have no hope.”
We are always in Christ Jesus, whether in this world or the next. “Because He Lives,” we live too. We hold on to that assurance in faith, because we know God is faithful, and we know Jesus lives, because He lives within us even now.
Charlie requested that we might sing together one of their favorite hymns, “Because He Lives”--but first, I'd like to call on Charlie to come up and share a few words and a special prayer with us. (At this point in the service, Charlie came forward and shared very personal words which I will not attempt to paraphrase here, but after these, he read a written prayer of great importance to him called “The Unafraid Prayer,” author unknown, which appears below.)
The Unafraid Prayer
Lord, I know that when I feel afraid you
want to calm my heart. Yet at this very
moment, I'm not at peace about my
condition. The enemy wants me to be
consumed by fear. But Your word reminds me, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for Thou art with me”—My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God
remains the strength of my heart; He is mine for-ever. Thank you, my Lord God, that I can face my fears unafraid, knowing You are
always and forever with me. Amen.
If you want to give Charlie a call, he can be reached at 570-387-1254 or send a greeting to 330 W. 3rd St., Apt. 314, Bloomsburg, PA 17815. He would be grateful to hear
See you on Sunday!