It was ten years ago this week that I got the call from Mom that Dad had gone to Heaven. I was driving home from Lackland Air Force Base where we had set up for a Christmas concert that would be happening the next morning. I called my Mom and told her we would pack and get on the road that evening and she responded … “No Ray, your Dad loved that ministry to the basic trainees and he would be disappointed if you did not go and do it.” So, we decided to go and sing the next morning for nearly 3500 basic trainees. Nearly 400 of those trainees indicated that they surrendered to the call for salvation that morning. Mom was right to have encouraged us to continue with the ministry to the Air Force trainees. Most of you reading this article never knew my Dad but he was my hero and my closest confidant. I can say without reservation that he was the most influential man in my life and I still miss him today. He was my mentor in ministry and he was my biggest supporter. Dad was full of wisdom and bad humor. In fact, if you are around me very long you will hear me quote my Dad. Words like, “ You can live a legacy or you can leave a legacy…” were among his many maxims. My personal favorite was, “I have never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch.” In other words, you can’t take it with you. His jokes were really so bad that I remember them all… and have passed them along to my kids. He enjoyed life and was a man of integrity and incredible faith.
Mom was a faithful wife and stayed by his side taking care of him until he died. She told me recently that as hard as those last 5 years were she would not trade anything for being able to be by his side until the end. I am so thankful for her example of unselfish love to me.
This article will not be long enough for me to fully honor Dad’s memory but I am writing this to let all of the Radiance family know that you need to take time this season and thank God for those that have invested in your life. You may not have had a Dad like mine and maybe those people that have poured into you are not even your family. The fact is that we are all products of those that have invested time, love, energy and money into our lives. My challenge to you is to take the time to call, write or do something special for them before they are gone. One of the most important things that I learned from Dad is that relationships are more important than gifts. Make this Christmas season one that is filled with showing gratitude to those who have been there for you.