It has taken me fifty-six years to complete it, and the last seven years to pull it all together.
It has been a labor of Love. It is my life written down in stories, poems, and songs. For sure, this book will not be a bestseller on the New York Times list but it does capture the journey of one man with one purpose. Interestingly enough, the timing is perfect.
September 1, 2018, will be the one year anniversary of Debra and I unpacking our bags and starting our journey at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home.
It has been a year full of many wonderful “holy moments.” It has been a constant, colorful, action-packed parade of God revealing Himself to us in so many intimate, meaningful ways. When I say intimate, I mean a whole new way of understanding that God knows me better than I know myself.
Moment by moment, He has poured out timely revelations of His desire to lavish upon me the "desires of my heart" and unveil to me the development of my “little” life story - combined with His “big” purposeful Plan. The narrative is seamless.
Year by year and word by word, the master Author has placed His pen to the paper and weaved a complete circle, unlike anything I could have ever written or imagined. I don’t mean to be boastful in any way - but it is beautiful. I stand amazed at the details, the timing, the rhythm and rhyme, painstaking word choice, the utterly complete grasp of plot development, character creation, and meaning behind each turning page, the twist and turns of ups and downs, the lonely nights and sunny days, the sweet victories and agonizing defeats, the journey home to “My Own Backyard.”
Recently as I stood in “My Own Backyard” at 109 Jamison Street North, I glanced over my shoulder and saw over a hundred children rolling watermelons and eating peach ice cream. My wife joyfully hugging one small child after another, my new friends and colleagues laughing, chatting, and watching the sunset across the western sky. The green grass, the white picket fence, flowers bursting with yellow and red delight, my dogs, Marley and Summer, frantically chasing the ankles of precious angels playing football. Norman Rockwell himself could have never imagined a more perfect picture of family, faith, and friends.
In that moment, my whole life flashed before my eyes. Everything seemed to stop around me, the sounds faded away, and I felt as if I was in a time bubble, frozen and still. I realized that all my life, I had been running, searching, and dreaming of this moment. The simple, ordinary life-giving picture of My Own Backyard filled with children. My next breath seemed to last forever—as I inhaled and let it out—a peace and stillness rested deep in my soul. The word Home echoed in my heart and mind. Home.
What are all our talents, dreams, hobbies and money leading us toward? What does all our striving, worrying, and scheming lead us to? What do we really want more than anything in life?
Peace, contentment, the sight of happy children, the sound of dogs barking, the voice of our “true self’—our soul—whispering
“I am safe.” “I am loved.” “I am Home.”
As I read the words of A.T. Jamison, I am inspired and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my story is mine, the race is over, the tears have now fallen on the seeds planted by the creator of the universe and bloomed into the fabric of My Own Backyard.
“Give me not riches, Give me not fame, Give me not power or influence, Oh Lord, allow me to walk hand in hand with a child through Your gates.”