The only story I know about [my dad] is what I heard from my aunt. When I was one-year-old, she was babysitting me at my grandmother’s house, and my dad came to the front door. She let him in, and he sat me on his knee. He stayed there thirty minutes. He then sat me on the floor, and I untied his shoe strings. When my dad left the house that day he never came back.
I’ve wondered for fifty years why someone would do such a thing. How could he do such a thing? How could he live with himself after doing such a thing to do a one-year-old child? Did I do something wrong? Was it my fault?
I recall walking home from football practice at Tyner Junior High School. I would walk behind the school because I didn't want other kids to see me walking home, or not having a ride home. They would get the car with their dads and leave. I’m sure they would immediately start talking about football and football practice. Often those dads were at the practice, but I never had a dad at practice. I never had a dad pick me up after practice. Stuff like that built up, and I had much resentment.
In 2006, I was struggling with my business, and it was taking its toll on me. I had never really prayed to God to help me with that business. It never dawned on me to pray to God to help me with that business. I was going to be a man and deal with it myself. It didn't work out that way. I ended up on my hands and knees praying, asking God to help me with the business. That was my turning point, my understanding of [God’s] power. I was not even considering that his power was out there for me. I asked God to help me figure this out, and he did. Everything miraculously worked out. He worked out what could not be worked out.
I discovered something when I read Psalm 68:5. I discovered that there is a father, that I had a father, that was there for me all along. I’m sure he was watching over me when I thought no one was watching over me. He was there at practice when I didn't think anybody was there [for me]. He was there as I was walking home after that practice, watching over me, making sure I made it home. I never knew that. I never realized it until recently. I now know that I had a father I could talk to talk to. I had a father who’s hand I could hold, and say, “I don't know what to do in this situation. I don't know how to handle this. What should I do with this? How should I proceed with this situation?” I’ve got that father now.
My dad graduated from Sale Creek, a TN high school. He was a big guy, 6’4.” He was very athletic. I had one picture of him until my mom died. After her death, I found a trunk of hers. In the trunk was a stack of dozens of pictures of him in athletic gear. There was picture after picture of him playing basketball; pictures with him holding the trophy. He was always in every single picture. He was the biggest guy on the team. I questioned, “All these pictures...-why would she never show me any of these pictures? Why would I never see any of this stuff? What in the world was going on between those two people?” I don't know.
When mom died I took her picture and my dad’s picture to the funeral. During visitation, I had their pictures side by side. I had never sung those two people standing side by side. I do not have a family picture of me with my mom. You know the picture with the dad the mom and the kids all standing around. I don't have a picture like that. I do now. I’ve been married for 37 years. We have hundreds of family pictures; crazy family pictures; funny family pictures, serious family pictures. We have all kinds of family pictures. When I was a kid that never happened. I never had the picture of the mom and dad and the brothers. How does that happen? Well, it happened [to me].
You can break those chains. My wife and I have broken those chains. That's not going to happen with us. We've got the family pictures. We fixed that problem.