Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. The very hairs on your head are all numbered so don’t be afraid. You are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31
My father, a beautiful man with thick, dark, wavy hair and a towering stature of 6’3”, was my hero and my mentor. Whatever Dad was interested in, also intrigued me. I have vivid memories as a child of five of my brother Richard purchasing a Harley Davidson motorcycle. His enthusiasm was so contagious that it didn’t take long for Dad to catch the bike bug, and procure a motorcycle of his own.
When he first drove up the driveway with his beautifully chromed out, vivid gold Honda Road Cruiser, I could hardly wait to jump on behind him and go for a ride around the block. The wind whipped my hair in knots and my tiny white blouse flapped in the breeze as we sped around the corner. I held on to Dad with all my might, my petite hands barely reaching half way around his middle. He drove all the way to Herrin Park, with one hand on the handle bars and the other clasped firmly to my forearms. I couldn’t have been more proud or more entertained. This was sure to be a wonderful adventure we could all enjoy!
One fine Sunday, Dad and my brother Richard, decided to take a three day trip to the lush, green hills of Kentucky to see God’s wonders and the beauty of life on the road. I watched intently as he loaded the saddlebags on the sides of the bike with clothing, food and beverages, all the while pacing back and forth in a jealous stupor, fully aware this trip did not include me.
“Daddy, are you sure you have to go away? I asked. “I really wish you’d stay home. I don’t want you to go.”
“Now, you know your brother and I have planned this for several weeks, and you’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ll be back by Wednesday.”
“But, Daddy, I really don’t feel good about this trip. Something’s going to happen to you if you go. I just know it.” There was a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that had nothing to do with the growing envy in my little heart. I was genuinely concerned about his safety and had a strong sense that something was going to happen to him if he chose to leave.
Dad and Richard waved goodbye to Mother and me, as they made their way out of our driveway and onto the road. We watched as they finally became so small they slipped from our sight. Mother turned with a pat on my head and walked into the house, but I couldn’t budge from my spot. Standing tip toe, my small hands shading my eyes, I strained to see the tiniest glimpse of that gold Honda road cruise, hoping against hope that Dad would turn around and come back home to me.
The call came on Monday around noon. The color drained from Mother’s face and her hand began to shake; I could see that whoever was on the other end of the phone had nothing good to say.
As Dad was merging onto the highway, a speeding car didn’t see his road cruiser in time, and although the driver made a sincere attempt to miss him, slammed into the back end of that beautiful bike, sending my father thirty feet into the air, and coming down to land on the roof of the car that hit him. He rolled onto the pavement and lay motionless on the road. Richard heard the squealing tires and turned his bike around to witness a terrible sight.
Richard knelt by Dad and tried to find a pulse, but there was nothing. He wasn’t breathing and his heart had stopped. Cell phones weren’t in existence in those days and there was no pay phone in sight. Strangely a man began to approach on foot from the distance and as he got closer, Richard could see he was carrying what appeared to be a little black medical bag. The man didn’t speak a word, but knelt down by my father, checking for a pulse and listening for a breath. Without warning, he began to beat on Dad’s chest, then reached into his black bag and pulled out a syringe. He filled it with liquid from a bottle and gave Dad a shot directly into his heart. Seconds after, Dad’s heart began to beat and he took a deep and desperate breath. Slowly the man stood, shook my brother’s hand, and introduced himself as Dr. Smith. He told Richard my father would be fine.
The scream of an ambulance siren pierced the air, catching my brother’s attention along with all the onlookers of the accident scene. As Richard turned back to thank Dr. Smith, he was no where to be found. Richard pushed through the crowd, and asked if anyone had seen where the doctor had gone, but no one saw him leave.
Dad ended up in the hospital for several weeks with broken bones, nasty bruises and a concussion, but otherwise very fortunate. Richard tried for several months to locate Dr. Smith. No one in the two state area had heard of a Dr. Smith that matched Richard’s description.
It was after this event that I first realized my importance to God, and how I could really trust Him to answer my prayers. I understood He genuinely cared about the things that were of value to me. I asked sincerely for my father to return home safely and he did. Dad could easily have been killed in that trauma, but God sent an angel, a guardian in the form of a doctor to answer the prayers of a five year old child.
I can’t begin to imagine what my life would have been like had my father been taken from me at such an early age. At this time of year, when Father’s Day is celebrated, the realization of the miracle of his survival is all the more poignant. Because I was blessed with such a great dad and had an intimate and close relationship with him, it is so much easier for me to look at my Heavenly Father with eyes of complete trust and faith. I know God won’t let me down. I know He will never fail me and I can honestly say, it’s because of Dad, that I am able to embrace faith in God with such abandon. Thanks, Daddy. You’ll always be in my heart.