Recently I was looking at my Facebook page. As I scrolled through there were pictures of three children from my childhood. They were posted by one of the siblings to show their love for their sister and brother. I texted saying the pictures brought back many memories.
My father was a pastor and my mother an amazing Sunday school teacher and care taker. When I was 17, a plane full of the United States Military Band exploded over the ocean and everyone was killed. There were very few bodies, but many items floating in the water. The father of the 3 children on Facebook was on that plane as a member of the band.
Our entire church and especially my parents went into action to help his wife and to support the children. I was shocked by the tragedy, and amazed at my parents and the church’s response.
My parents started to plan outings and things for the mom and children. I was dating Jimmy at the time and he would often be with us. The two girls from the pictures on Facebook texted me back telling me they remembered being on a picnic and Jimmy was there. He would have been about 21 at the time. We went on a hike and the little girl was on Jimmy’s shoulders and the other one was running around him. They recalled their joy of being with him and his care of them.
I cried as I read their comments. At that early stage of his life his fatherhood was already in place. He became a substitute father. As the years went by he would offer his Father heart to so many. His hugs were amazing, his light-hearted nature made everyone laugh and his words and ability to just be there as a father figure, followed him even as he was dying.
I was blessed to be Jimmy’s wife and be allowed to observe, and participate.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and men, some not even married, who have been a father figure to those who do not have fathers. It matters and changes lives.
May we remember and rejoice in all the wonderful fathers around the world, as well as those who share their fathering gifts with children and teens who have no fathers. God bless you all.
Jim’s life mission: “For me, when it is all said and done, I want to be known as a man with a father’s heart and a man of great compassion.”
from A Father’s Heart-compilation of Jimmy’s writings available for purchase