Sorry, this hasn't been updated. My hero...father passed away this week and to be honest it is just hard to even think. But I would like to share just a quick story about how much this man meant to me.
Back in November 1975 while I was a senior in high school, I ran with a club because we had no cross-country teams in Mississippi at the time. All long distance running was sponsored by clubs and local communities...so many of the races I ran I had to get myself to. Lucky for me, Coach D who lived down the street always made sure I got to the races.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, my mother was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Our family life was turned upside down with all our attention focused on her. But on Wednesday, she was able to come home from the hospital. My father who was also a minister did an awesome job of taking care of us that week and was still able to preach at the community Thanksgiving service on Wednesday night. So everyone including my father was exhausted.
At 5 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day, Coach D came by the house to pick me up to take me to a 5 mile race in New Orleans. With all the stuff going on, I had forgotten about the race...and his knocking on the door was the first reminder that I even had the race. My father came to wake me, but it was too late for me to get my stuff together and leave with Coach D. I was still hurrying around the room getting my things together when my dad came back and told me that Coach D had left. There was a long silent pause...then my dad told me to finish and he would drive me to the race.
We made it to the race and I ran one of my best times. For years, I had always thought it was because I was so grateful that my mother survived her illness and it was that which inspired me. But the other night it really hit me. It wasn't my mother's inspiration that got me to do so well in that race. It was my father's quiet presence. That week was hard on him. He was afraid of losing his wife, taking care of five children, and continuing his work as a pastor in a community celebrating Thanksgiving. He was tired, but when it came to taking me to New Orleans, he didn't hesitate.
I gave the trophy I won to my mother that Thanksgiving morning so many years ago. But tonight as I prepare to say one last good-bye to my father...I realize it was he who has inspired my life…winning my heart and respect.