For all of his life, my dad has been taking in alcoholic and or drug addicted people into his home or business and hiring them to work on cars, do filing or other office work etc. in hopes of introducing them to the Lord and helping them get a new start with a new life. Most folks, as one would guess, continued in old ways after getting cleaned up and sobered up a bit, but at least they had a chance, and some were able to make the transition into sober and productive lives.
I have followed in his footsteps there but on a much smaller scale and with more care and safety built in as I have a wife and had children in my home much of my life.
He has always known that doing this, having what used to be called derelicts in his home carried with it inherent danger, but believed that the danger was worth the possability of introducing folks to Christ Jesus and to a more responsible and prosperous way of life through hard work and new life guidlines. He had much, much patience with these mostly men and often gave them chance after chance in hopes of seeing a life reclaimed, restored and re built.
But, the worst case scenario has just happened in our life.
One of his ranch home tennant/workers, a violent man when drunk, came home to the house he shared with my father and an argument ensued, most likely over money that was percieved as being owed or possibly my fathers refusla to this time advance him pay so that he could go back to bar hopping. We do not know. What we do know is that my father, who was a pacifist and never before in his life made a fist, died with scarred up knuckles, bleeding in his stomach from a blow, and his head busted open, skull crack badly and bleeding in his brain throughout after having his head smacked into the stone work kitchen countertop where my dad made so many meals for the men he was trying to help.
I was called when dad was found by another tenenat and taken by ambulance to the local hospital. Dad never regained conciousness or spoke but I and my siblings spoke to him, prayed with him and sang to him in hopes that he was hearing us.
I was with my dad at 12:09 when, after being off of the ventilator for just a few moments as he had instructed to be done in his health care directive he was birthed into eternity and into the arms of his waiting savior.
Some of you here have met my father on hunting trips or other events, I thought that you and my freinds here would want to know.
I am very broken hearted here, obviously, but am relieved to know that my dad is now without pain and is joyous, seeing the BIG picture and knowing that I and others he left behind will be there with him in not very long from his new perspective of seeing things on an eternal scale.
I must now try to focus on this eternal scale and our time here is SO short in comparison.
My father sang Southern Gospel music full time in the 50's and 60's, and it was from him that I learned to love this music and learned to sing. Dad and his groups recorded many albulms and traveled extensively througout the USA singing the good news of forgiveness of sins and a NEW LIFE through the marvelous love of God and grace through the cleansing blood of Jesus. Dad started the Western States Quartet convention in the early 60's and put me up on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 (I was 4!) to sing all four verses of "Jesus loves me". I am told by old family freinds that I nailed it....
Dad also taught me the insurance business through which I took care of a family of five as the only income producer for the entirety of my children's growing up years. To do this on 100% commission sales is quite a testament to many things he taught me. Mostly to be confident, resilient, strong and 'make good things happen' i.e. be the force and world changer. Dad was also a city councilman in our home town of Roseville California (I am here now as I type) and past president of two different Rotary Clubs and the local Toastmasters.
I am SO very glad that I spent so much time with my dad. Taking him with me to Africa once, Alaska twice, a sales convention trip that I won in Puerto Rico, wild hog hunts so much more. I always tried to include him in whatever I was doing, I even took him cruising and street racing when I was a senior in High School. He was always welcome to be a part of every segment of my life. I told him I loved him often, huggesd him whenever I saw him, and I am now SO glad that I did these things. I have no regrets other than that the police got the perp before I could get my mitts on his sorry carcass. He (the murdering carcass that is in jail right now) should be very grateful today for the bars and guards that are surrounding him today.
I miss my dad, but it will not be for long, really.