Jerrod, Angy and Joel… June 17, 2012



A father offers his love, but it is the child who determines the true nature of the relationship. An intelligent dad doesn’t allow himself to be intimidated or disappointed in that decision. Each one of my sons has defined his own essence and meaning for our interaction. I offer the same continuing stream of love to all of them and they assimilate it into their lives at will–as needed.

One of my sons always wanted to be in the front seat with me. It didn’t matter where I was going, what I was doing or how boring the task. He would leap into the seat next to me, believing each time that we were on the “Magical Mystery Tour.” Because of that, at times he seemed to be more of a comrade-in-arms than merely a fledgling of my flock. He learned, he responded, he believed and even when he met the woman of his dreams, he allowed me to tag along, acting as both cheerleader and chaperone while he pursued her to the shores of California. His name is Jerrod.


Tonight I arrived back from my gig to discover a story from Jerrod in response to my request to have my Father’s Day gifts shared with others instead of bestowed in my direction. This is his tale:

In the Name of the Father

I have always loved when my birthday is, situated almost exactly half way through the year on June 7, the perfect reprieve and excuse to celebrate just as summer begins to peek around the corner. My two daughters have usually just gotten out of school and that gives us even more reason to be joyful and make merry together. I always felt sorry for those people whose birthdays are close to Christmas or other major holidays, because I think it’s hard for it not to get lost in the shuffle. The only disadvantage to the anniversary of my birth is the proximity it usually has to Father’s Day. For instance, this year it is a mere ten days apart. It always seems a bit self-indulgent to ask people to spend their time and resources to commemorate my birth and then turn around a few days later and ask them to spend time and resources commemorating my assistance in others having birthed. But this year thanks to my Dad’s brilliant plan, the fact my Birthday and Father’s day are so cozy in placement on the calendar actually worked to my advantage as a way to bless some dear friends in the name of my Father.

I was invited by a group of friends and co-workers to go out to Lunch in order to acknowledge my arrival on this planet a mere 36 years ago. The plan was to go to lunch and everyone would pay for their own meal and split my portion amongst the attendees.  I went along with this plan, nodding and giving my approval at every turn.  But as we finished the meal I quietly got up and procured the check and paid for the entire brood myself.

Soon after the waitress came by and one of the attendees asked about the check and the waitress told them that I had already paid for it. Then came the half-hearted pleas of “Why did you do that”, “You didn’t have to” and “But it’s your birthday,” to which I quickly replied that “My Dad told me to take what money I would have spent blessing him this Father’s day and instead bless a group of people in his name, so in the name of the best Dad a son ever had…Happy Birthday to me!”

Perhaps I was a little full of myself and the feeling of having blessed these people, but the spiritual symbolism seemed to run pretty deep in my little luncheon. Those who had set out to bless someone else were actually the ones who ended up being blessed. My Dad chose not to receive but instead to give. So I chose not to receive and instead I gave and those that were giving received. Perhaps I was a little over engrossed in the moment, but the look of surprise and confusion that was followed by joy was truly worth every penny. And the best part is that was in the name of the Father…


Not only the wife of Jerrod and the mother of our grandchildren, but also, like her husband, when she joined the family, she embraced the mission, and for nearly two years, she traveled the country with Janet and myself as we presented dramatic readings from my novel based on the life of Jesus entitled, I’M … the legend of the son of man.

When I started a program in Tennessee called The Topper, which was merely giving the few dollars and coins at the top of one’s personal checking account to those in need, she has continued it on. She understands that the greatest way to tribute someone you love is to possess one of his fondest notions and make it her own. I just wanted you to know about her, and I just want to thank her on this Father’s Day for honoring me by honoring the principle of giving aid to those less enabled.


My final son spent the day in a true action of love. He found himself in a difficult situation, standing firm with a friend in need. I know he did this because he believed that was what was right, and what he was taught to be. He didn’t do it because it was pleasant; he didn’t do it because it was easy, but on this day before Father’s Day, he exemplified the kind of love that friends express to each other.


At times, when we give our love away, at first it seems like it is merely evaporating into the air, not to be absorbed or even acknowledged. But it is not so. Love never disappears, because love never breaks down from its chemical impact and its spiritual power. His name is Joel and I am very proud of him. And Joel, I can see your gift to me, in the love you expressed to your friends.

Never lose sight of the fact that faith and hope keep the world moving–but it is love that allows us to breathe.


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