A Tribute to Father

“One day at a time sweet Jesus that’s all I need, help me realize I can make it by taking one day at a time.” My father modified popular songs and wrote others while playing his guitar. He would play every evening with his children attenitive and then with a family grouping of his brothers and parents on weekends when we visited them. Some of his made-up songs were “tear-jerkers” intended to bring out deep emotions in others. They started with contemporary music that rocked the mountains for miles around. I would go to sleep listening to the old, old hymnals that soothed the soul.

The foothills of The Appalachian Mountains in Calhoun County, northern Alabama, were where my maw-ma and paw-pa lived. They bought the farmhouse when my father was a very young teenager. Music was always the father’s solace and answer to his worries. He wanted in his heart to be a musician but knew his family had to be fed, etc. so he became a vehicle mechanic instead. Only when the children were gone did he form a strings group and sing out of a restaurant room every week.

Every year on the Fourth of July, Eldon Lyon Park hosts musical entertainment. My father advertised well. When it was time for him to play and sing, I was there. No one else bothered to attend and lend their support or approval. A part of him died a little that day. None of them truly got what was at stake for him. He sang well, he played magnificently but could not even make it with his own family.

Through the years, he traded one dream for another as many of us do when we have a family to consider. It’s in the back of one’s mind but it is worth the sacrifice to have a family to love them and love you back.

In the latter years, father had neither. His choices as a younger man drove a wedge between his children and ex-wife and current wife that could be forgiven after decades of strife but never forgotten, and to have a close loving relationship that family should have. He was able to have relationships with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren without their condemnations.

Father gave up on his wife, his children, and God. I can relate to the feelings of being Job in the bible of losing it all. But where Job stood the good fight of faith and was rewarded richly. Job lost his family and all he owned in their death that he could mourn. Father did not, we children would not shower him with grace, whether it be ours or God’s. I think he lived a life of hell.

I think at the very end of the appointed day God gave him his children to reconcile themselves to him. There were many missed opportunities in the in-betweens. I know that for 20 years I would forgive and then not forgive as therapists would probe my emotions. The best thing I did was move away and change therapists and refuse to dwell on the old stories.

Life is about choices. What we do today could have long-reaching arms. It may seem good or even preferable to the other choices in our dilemma. Leaving God out of the mix is our biggest mistake. We as adults think we are wise and therefore capable of making good decisions in all things. But Proverbs in the Bible assures us that all of us are not always wise, in fact, some of us act foolish.

My father did the best he could with the choices he made and deep down he was a good man, he tried his best to help others out of dilemmas whether it be a car problem or a need for sound advice if asked for, It is not the beginning choices we make that determine our caliber of life but how we handle the decisions throughout life that matters.

I’ve attached the actual lyric to “One Day At A Time”

One Day at a Time

    Song by Meriam Bellina

    refraine: One day at a time sweet Jesus
    That’s all I’m asking of You
    Just give me the strength
    To do everyday what I have to do
    Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
    And tomorrow may never be mine
    Lord help me today, show me the way
    One day at a time


    Published by Kat Challis

    Kathy Ann (Hughes) Challis Married in 1977 to Robert Challis-Oklahoma - still together Two daughters ages 44y and 40y and six beautiful grandchildren. Live in Texas. I love GOD and live life to its fullest. I am blessed beyond measure. I have family pets that give me a sense of devotion. Writing this blog has been an adventure of internal growth and I hope of interest to you.

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