Monday, August 13, 2018

I have heard mothers say, “I love all my children, but ____ is my favorite.”  I was mom’s first born.  I was followed by two sisters, a brother, and a third sister.  For some reason I was mom’s favorite and it upset me when she compared my brother to me, with him coming up on the short end.  Whatever I had was better than what my brother did.  I didn’t think mom was fair in making those comparisons.  I felt sorry him.  Jerry was a good husband, father, grandfather, and brother.  He was also a good son!

Oh, mom chided me for different things when I was younger.  “Stand up straight.  Do you want to go through life as a hunchback?”  “You don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive.”  “You are so skinny that if a puff of wind came up, it would blow you away.”  Yet, she never used one of the other siblings to make me appear insufficient or a failure.  Because of that, I don’t remember trying to impress her to get her attention or favor over the others.  Sometimes a son or daughter will attempt to impress their father.  My father abandoned us when I was eight and he wasn’t around for us to impress if we had wanted to.  But some children work hard at getting their dad to love them.  One of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard was performed by Reba McIntire, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” written by Richard Leigh and Layng Martine, Jr. in 1992.  It falls into a category I’m familiar with!

The greatest man I never knew

Lived just down the hall

And every day we said hello

But never touched at all

He was in his paper

I was in my room

How was I to know he thought I hung the moon


The greatest man I never knew

Came home late every night

He never had too much to say

Too much was on his mind

I never really knew him

And now it seems so sad

Everything he gave to us took all he had


Then the days turned into years

And the memories to black and white

He grew cold like an old winter wind

Blowing across my life


The greatest words I never heard

I guess I’ll never hear

The man I thought could never die

Has been dead almost a year

He was good at business

But there was business left to do

He never said he loved me

Guess he thought I knew.

What I regretted most while growing up, was not having a dad to show me how a man was supposed to be a father.  When dads walk away and never return, children think it must be their fault.  I credit O’Neal Horney being more like a father to me than my dad every was.  O’Neal came into our lives during my senior year in high school.  I went off to college after graduating, but my year with him was rewarding.  The marriage didn’t survive, and I never had the opportunity to tell him, “Thank you” or “I love you.”

Men who are fathers aren’t perfect.  Not everyone is a Dr. Spock!  Perhaps they shouldn’t be.  I know of one Father that always sets the right example and give us His love without reservation.  He desires our fellowship and proved it by sending His Son to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins.  He gave us the way, the truth, and the life to have that relationship.  That information is called the Good News or Gospel.

If you haven’t heard it, I hope you will.