the excessive references about me.
Tiring, I know.
I had the privilege to help raise three terrific children, two girls first and then a boy. We had some wonderful times together as a family. We loved to play outside games together, games like baseball and football. Sure, we had to modify how we played them, but it was great fun.
For many years, my job situation was very unstable. One day my son pointed out to me that before he finished high school, we had moved forty times. Yes, you read correctly, forty (40) times.
Why would anyone move forty times over a space of eighteen years? I doubt that many military families could top that number. That's a reasonable question, but it lacks a reasonable answer. My then-wife and I just could not seem to get it together. It seems no matter how much money I made, it was never enough.
We were dysfunctional parents. Dysfunctional is when weird seems normal and normal seems weird. We certainly had a distorted outlook on life.
My marriage lasted almost twenty-seven years and then when the kids moved out, we went separate directions.
My second marriage lasted 23 years. I am now living the single life and doing well.
I have much for which to be thankful and I am very grateful! My
life is rich and full. My favorite activity is to participate in Oregon
Adventist Men’s Chorus (oamc.org). We're a volunteer group of guys who pray together and love singing and sharing the good news of the gospel.
We've been fortunate enough over the years to sing in such places as The Philippines, Toronto, St. Louis, Kenya, Tanzania, Romania, Ukraine, and South Africa. We have spawned male choruses in Romania, Spain, and South Africa.
They say that in every life some rain must fall. The cloudburst in my life came when my son took his own life. He was 39 years old.
I was sleeping soundly one night when the cell phone by my bedside stand rang. It was about 2:00 or 2:30 AM in 2010. Not my favorite time to engage anyone in a phone conversation. Decided to ignore the call. A bit later the phone indicated someone had left a message.
For me, that complicated the situation. If the caller left a message, that suggested they had something significant to say. I picked up the phone and listened. It was my daughter, calling long distance from the other side of the state. She asked me to call her when I got her message.
OK. I can to that. I’ll call her in the morning, first thing when I get up. But wait. She called me at an unearthly hour. Was she expecting me to return the favor? I did.
The first words out of her mouth were, “Dad, Rob has taken his own life”. It took a moment for that statement to register in my brain. What was that again? It that possible? Etc. Truth is, I am still struggling to comprehend that event.
Starting from nothing, Rob enjoyed huge financial success and had all the things the world can offer. He had several farms, vacationed around the world, had full access to a plane, built a multimillion-dollar home on a thousand-acre farm – you get the picture.
Rob was large-hearted and generous. A local public service organization was struggling to stay afloat so he donated $10,000 to give it a new start.
However, financial success comes at a price. For Rob, it seemed that he just lost hold of his devotional life and so his relationship with Jesus suffered. Yes, he was struggling to rebuild that relationship.
I believe he was overcome with guilt for decisions he made that hurt his family. He had not yet learned of the amazing grace of Jesus and His gift of forgiveness, so he found himself unable to endure the pain he caused.
I comfort myself with the assurance the God knows the heart and is perfectly willing and able meet Rob where he was.
I am sure you also have experienced pain – heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, major league, industrial strength pain. You know the drill. You cannot live as long as you and I have lived without experiencing it first-hand.
So what do you do when tragedy strikes? Knowing Jesus and His loving care for you certainly makes it easier.
Some people say religion is a crutch. I say not so. It is a gurney! A gurney is a bed used to transport patients. A crutch is not nearly enough to do the job!
A simple crutch would not have been nearly enough to sustain me in the most trying time in my life. I have learned that Jesus is able to sustain me even in life’s most difficult events.
I owe much to my extended family. As I was experiencing divorce and recovery, they played a vital role in helping me redefine reality. I owe a debt to them I can never repay.
I then married a woman who has supported my teaching career – maybe because she is a teacher too? Yeah, that’s what I think! Finally, I was secure in a career as a teacher and felt content in twenty years as an educator.
I loved being a classroom teacher.
My new wife also brought her two sons and their families into my family and they also are all prospering and doing well.
As you can see, I
have much for which to be thankful and I am very grateful! My life is
rich and full. My favorite activity is to participate in Oregon Adventist
Men’s Chorus (oamc.org). We love singing and sharing
the gospel together.
We've been fortunate enough over the years to sing in such places as The Philippines, Toronto, St. Louis, Kenya, Tanzania, Romania, and South Africa. We are now planning a tour to Romania again with singers from Spain and other European countries joining us.
That's it about me. So now I am retired! While I have plenty to do to stay active and busy, including some substitute teaching.
I've decided retirement is a really good thing. Too bad I couldn't afford it 40 years sooner!
What? You've read this far? Thank you for learning more about me! I'm honored!