Today marks 17 years. It’s hard to believe that 17 years have come and gone since my father was murdered. I remember the details of that day like it was yesterday. The feeling in my stomach as I heard the news that he had been shot…. the shock of the possibility that he might not make it… the walk over to my sister’s dorm to tell her the news. The confusion and intense emotion that was released as the phone call came that he had died.
I don’t talk about my father’s death nearly as often these days…. but on each anniversary of this date, I do take time to reflect and remember my dad, Jerry Simon. Some of you who read this blog today knew him and were profoundly impacted by his life and ministry as a pastor. Some of you are like my kids, who never had a chance to meet him or know him.
17 years later, I’m much more accustomed to death, to loss, and grief than I was then… there’s a tremendous amount of pain and suffering that all of us go through. I’ve seen God’s grace evidenced in my life and in my family and in dozens of other families that have suffered tragedy and loss and I am as convinced as ever that God is faithful…that He leans close to us in our tragedy and sorrow and that He will bring us through the storms if we trust Him.
Today, however, as I reflect on my father, I have a profound sense of appreciation for the way he lived his life… Now that I’ve been on this journey as a husband, father, and pastor in the years since his death, I am very aware of the traps and struggles that destroy or sidetrack so many husbands, fathers, and pastors… and when I consider that and reflect on the way he lived his life, I’m glad he was my dad.
He didn’t lead a church of 1000s or become a household name in ministry circles…. He didn’t amass a great estate and become a wealthy or powerful leader. He didn’t do anything that most would claim as a great success…. He simply loved God and his wife and kids and he loved people that came across his life path. In doing that, he made a difference in so many lives that I still hear stories from people who, although they were no relation to him, refered to him as “dad”.
Each year I get closer and closer to the age he was when he died, and I can’t help but reflect on my life and “success”. I hope you are as inspired as I am by people like my father. People who live life with purpose… to make a difference… and who let their life be evaluated by a different standard than the world. Thanks dad for living a great life.