The Lord watches over the foolish; when I was helpless, He saved me.” Psalm 116:6
It was the day of my Daddy’s funeral. I was 20 years old, into my second year in the Air Force and I was pretty much convinced I was invincible. When you are a young buck, independent and all that, it seems you are going to live forever…and I guess you think that those around you will too. That Sunday in July 1974 changed all that. That day my Daddy slipped away from us, and we were left to say goodbye. So, I’m sure there were trips to the funeral home, conversations with the pastor, and details to be ironed out. And then suddenly it was the day of the funeral.
For some reason I don’t remember much about the service. I remember walking into the church and my then girlfriend telling me not to cry. I guess big boys don’t cry after all. I remember a church mostly filled and I remember we sang the old hymn, “In the Garden.” Beyond that there is a void…an emptiness…until lunch. Down south the answer to everything is food…and that is especially true when it comes to grieving.
We had dinner at the home place and there were plenty of people and plenty of food. I was standing out in the backyard talking with a bunch of guys. One of the neighborhood guys I grew up with had a new Honda 750 motorcycle. Like I said…when you are 20 you think you are invincible or maybe since I had just come from my Daddy’s funeral, I needed to prove that I thought I was. Regardless, he asked me if I wanted to take it for a ride.
Now a Honda 750 is a lot of motorcycle…especially for 1974. I mounted my metal steed and headed for the road. The roads were Wheat, Firestone, 118th St., and Ricker. They formed a very large block about a mile each way. If you took four right turns, you would end up back where you started. At first, I went easy because my experience on motorcycles was just about like it was for horses…an occasional ride…very occasional. I made the first right onto Firestone and a mile later made my second right onto 118th. I’m not sure what prompted it, but I decided to see how fast the Honda would go. So, I opened the throttle and quickly shifted through the gears. I was going fast…too fast.
Before I knew it I was somewhere over 100 miles an hour on a one mile stretch of road on a machine I knew little about. I looked up and coming up very quickly was the stop sign where the road ended at Ricker Road. I needed to stop so I began to downshift and hit the brakes and somehow, someway I managed to bring me and the Honda to a stop. My heart was just about to jump out of my chest and all of a sudden, I didn’t feel very invincible. In fact, I felt quite the opposite. Suddenly I realized that life can be very fragile. I got back to the house in one piece. I’m sure I shared the story with the guys and we probably all had a good laugh but one of us wasn’t laughing on the inside.
You see that day I came face to face not with my invincibility but rather my mortality. I realized that life was precious and was something to be valued and guarded. I’m still not sure what I was trying to prove that day or maybe it was some sort of weird ritual thing that boys do when their Daddy dies. I know this. If my Daddy had been there that day there would have been a very serious discussion about me, motorcycles, and safety. But, fortunately, my Dearest Daddy was there to watch over me. And even though I was not acting responsibility or even rationally, He still cared, He still rescued me. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 116:6 “The Lord watches over the foolish; when I was helpless, He saved me.”
My earthly Daddy, after our talk, would have extended grace that day. My Heavenly Father extended grace too that day. He watched over me, protected me, and gave me the opportunity to live and experience life. Thanks, Father. Over the decades of my life since that hot July day on the day of my Daddy’s funeral, I have experienced God’s grace over and over, again. He has been there for me and from experience I can tell you for a fact that He does indeed, “have this.” Bro. Dewayne