Fathers — And the Sons Who Stand in Awe of Them…

April and I have been lounging on the beaches of Punta De Mita, soaking up much needed rest and restoration after a year of tumult and, at times, chaos. Yeah. It was a year like no other. But that’s the stuff of blogs already loaded down with their fair share of ink.

We are enjoying the nothingness of it all. Strolls alongside the beach. Excursions into town where the real life here takes place. LONG chats with strangers by the pool. Hey Kendall! Hey Jennifer! See ya next February in the Desert! And lots of handholding with the girl I fell in love with since the first day I laid eyes on her back on February 8, 2009. We’ve needed this. I love the Mommy April. But this week it’s just been that little yellow haired girl I fell for. She’s literally breathtaking. And quite perfect in every way. Some men marry up. But mine broke the mold.

We just finished a Netflix movie entitled About Time. Rachel McAdams has earned our viewership no matter how obscure the movie might seem. It depicts the story of a father and his son and their lineage’s gift to travel back in time across their lifetime. You should watch it yourself to simmer in the Britishly British screenplay. But there’s a scene when this Dad and his son go back to a precious memory. The fully grown son is once again a boy holding hands with his Dad whilst they run alongside the beach. What had, up to this point, been a simple Netflix escape became a welcomed torrent of emotion; there were tears and wonder. Because every man wants this—intimacy and embrace with his Dad. While the sudden tears consumed me I of course thought of my own Dad. I of course thought of my own sons begging Jesus, “O Lord please please give this connection to me and Camden and Grand. And that for all our days.”

I cannot, for the life of me, remember how old we were and exactly how intentional or how epic the moment was. But one of my favorite memories came one afternoon when my Dad sat me and my brother Jacques down and read the following passage from Kipling:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

If I must guess I might’ve been somewhere around the 5th grade. But I remember that moment for me was one of impartation. Dad was marking us. And for good, and indeed some not so good across the years, we’d be marked again and again by the man we revered and respected yet were close enough to affectionately know him as, “Dad.”

A few months ago I got to preach at Dad’s church and tell his congregation stories of how those “marks” continue to bear upon my own soul. I shared with them what was the best day of my childhood—when Dad ‘called in’ for church to take us kids to Shoney’s Breakfast Bar and an afternoon of Putt-Putt and Miniature Golf. I shared with them that the reason I can love April well is because he loved my Mama well. I shared with them that the world shall not know a more hard working and faithful father as the one I have known these two score and four years. I have been marked.

For decades now, when I get in a jam, I call Dad and get two things: Wisdom. And prayer. Even when times were funky between us that distance never got in the way of me coming to him to get help when I needed it. Whether it was an issue of finances, dating and pursuing April for marriage, pastoring different churches and finding myself in a squeeze, taxes (haha), and the throws of life, the man always took my call and gave me essential wisdom that guided my path through the storm.

Something unusual happened this past Sunday morning. I’d “called in” this time in that we are off for the month of July. April had allowed me to sleep late and had bribed the children into hanging out in the living room instead of their usual morning rhythm—jumping on my face at precisely 6am! So it must’ve been around 8:15 am. And Dad called. With as many relatives as we have and as awkward a time that was for my Dad to call I assumed the worst—someone had passed away. I missed the call and dialed right back. Dad said, “Hey I know this is strange but I’m about to walk out into the pulpit and preach. Would you pray for me son?”

Were it not for this first time ever request and the awesome responsibility that was upon me I suppose shock and eventual hyperventilation might’ve taken over. And with more glee than a young Brit running alongside the beach hand and hand with his Dad did I pray and beg God’s Spirit to fall fresh on my father so he might preach the gospel with fresh power. To return a favor that had been done for me at least 100 times before…well…that meant the world.

Thank you About Time movie for giving me what you gave me today.

If you are a father, embrace your kids. For they shall never forget it. If you are a son or a daughter, embrace your father. Even if all they gave you was one good moment, it is one good moment that might bless you along the way and help you to pass that moment on to the next one who’ll need to know that it’s going to be all right.

Finally to young Camden Earl and Carson Grand:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

One thought on “Fathers — And the Sons Who Stand in Awe of Them…

  1. mikeyoung328 says:

    Love this post, Ricky!
    Keep making those deep investments in your sons…
    Praying with you that the legacy of godly men in your family continues until Jesus returns!
    God bless you!

    Serving Adventurously,
    [A picture containing object, clock Description automatically generated]

    Mike Young
    Founder, Executive Director
    804.447.1720 x1 | NobleWarriors®
    Serving Churches as They Equip Men to Walk With Christ and Lead Well
    The Noble Man Podcast [iTunes + Spotify]

    From: “Ricky J.”
    Reply-To: “Ricky J.”
    Date: Friday, July 16, 2021 at 8:49 PM
    To: Me
    Subject: [New post] Fathers — And the Sons Who Stand in Awe of Them…

    rickyjenkins posted: ” April and I have been lounging on the beaches of Punta De Mita, soaking up much needed rest and restoration after a year of tumult and, at times, chaos. Yeah. It was a year like no other. But that’s the stuff of blogs already loaded down with their fair “

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