“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who builds his house on sand…” Matthew 7: 26
There is much to be said about a humble, country boy that builds himself into a man of earthly prestige and success. My mom once told me that sometimes, someone who comes from such humble beginnings carries their pride in their back pocket, along with their crisp $100 dollar bills. And while there is much to be respected and admired in men that have the strength to build their own empires, the foundations of their intentions must be pure. Never forgetting who they serve and what is required of them. Much like the parable of the two builders in the Bible, it is necessary that we build our lives on the rock foundation, rather than the sand (but that is a whole other topic for another blog post for another day).
My dad was a very proud man…but pride is sometimes poisonous. I don’t think that my father had the capacity to handle the fact that he had damaged the one thing he cherished above all else, his family. I don’t think he could face me and my sister with the truth, nor do I think he could face his own mother or his wife. He was a scared boy trapped in the body of a powerful man…but looks can often be deceiving.
My dad had panicked. He had run. He had picked up in the middle of the day and made his way back towards his humble roots. Back towards his childhood home in Alabama. He took every precaution to assure his success. He had come home to get his guns in the middle of the day, left the note and the message when nobody was around to stop him. He had turned off his phone and severed any chance of contact. Then he had driven. Driven away from his problems, driven away from his responsibilities.
I would like to think that something snapped in my dad’s mind. I would like to think that his actions were rash and that his decisions were spontaneous. But the fact of the matter is that my dad spent a great deal of time thinking that day. From the time he left his office at lunch to the time his suicide letter was received in the early morning hours, he had spent hours drowned in thought. Hours harboring an inner-war in his spirit. Hours hosting a battle of good and evil in his soul. I won’t write much more about what I don’t know. It hurts too badly to allow my imagination to wander. But I do know one thing–my dad was a beautiful man. A man paralyzed by fear and caught in the snares of Satan’s stronghold. A man that loved others far more than he was ever capable of loving himself. And that is what breaks my heart the most…
The police were only finally able to track him down because one call had been made from his cell phone in that time. One single call. A call to 911. You see, he had distanced himself. Far enough from his family, but close enough to his home. He had checked into a hotel room, neatly hung up his clothes, written on a small slip of paper what he wished to be done with his body, and called 911. (I can only assume he did this so that a maid would not walk in on the scene and be scarred by a pain she had no need to feel). My daddy then sat down on the hotel bed, put a gun to his chest, and gave up.
It was January 3, 2009 that my daddy put a gun to heart and pulled the trigger.
It was January 3, 2009 that I took back control.
It was January 3, 2009 that I began to run as far from Christ as I possibly could…