As promised, here is a testimony from a lovely lady I met at the Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference this summer. Janet Morris Grimes has a website where you can learn more about her: www.janetmorrisgrimes.com.
Read Mrs. Grimes’ testimony about how her father took care of her after her earthly father died….
November 15, 1967
Behind every person lies a story, waiting to be revealed.
Mine is simple, touched by tragedy, yet moving on to a life filled with love, laughter, dreams, tears, and a desire to focus only on things that will matter forever.
I plan to keep it that way; understanding that those who learn to do this are the ones who never look back with regrets.
Dealing with the death of my father when I was a baby has never been an option; it was not my choice to accept. It just simply was.
Memories, or the lack thereof, left me to fill in the blanks. It should have been easy to move on.
Does it make sense, after all, to miss something you never had?
After forty-two years of experience in dealing with these matters, I am still not sure how to answer that question.
Several years ago, my mother searched through boxes of family records to find an old church directory, the 1967 Edition from Northside Church of Christ in Corinth, Mississippi. This was the church where my father, David Morris, served as the Pastor. As a foreword, Daddy wrote in a message to his congregation, “This directory, the first in the history of the Northside church, will help us as we strengthen the bonds that tie us together.”
Turning the pages to the “M” section in the middle, I found it:
Morris, David, Jeannine, Jeanna, & Janet
3128 Harper Road
Reading this as an adult for the first time, I felt a sense of belonging; continued relief at any proof of his existence.
But more powerful than this, I was sad. This was a family I never knew.
For as long as I can remember, my family has been just the three of us. Mom, Jeanna, and me. It was a great family; my mother, to this day, remains my hero. Jeanna and I are inseparable, even though we now live 600 miles apart. Life, as required by it’s very meaning, moves on, gradually pulling us along with it.
Early in life, I heard the scripture that reads “God is Father to the fatherless.” (Psalm 68:5 – A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.)
As a young girl, I took this personally, listing the traits I most needed in a father on a daily basis, and asking God to meet those needs. He did, in ways only I could understand. He cherished me, walked beside me, held my hand, wiped my tears, and above all else, healed my heart. He somehow used my brokenness to make me stronger. My fatherlessness became a strength, defining who I am and moving me forward with an eye always on Heaven. Healing continues to come minute by minute, just when I need it the most.
But for today, my message is this:
November 15, 1967.
Our lives changed forever on this date.
Life before the death of a parent never equals that same life afterward. And healing on the outside never brings me back to who I was as a baby, living at 3128 Harper Road in Corinth, Mississippi.
I would give anything to call that phone number to speak to that Morris Family. There is so much I would like to know about how life would have been….
“Every day, it still matters….”
That’s what I would say to him when he answered the phone.