I am going to break the norm and get personal tonight. Over the past few days my emotions have been a roller coaster. I appreciate you viewers that come here and read my rants about the school I love. But if you will please bare with me for a few minutes I would dearly appreciate it.
Sunday night I was sitting in my chair watching Extreme Home Makeover. It is my dose of compassion. I am a tender hearted sap sometimes, and this is my way of staying human. Then as it does a few times a show, the local news anchor came on the screen to tease the late news and said that "Local radio personality loses his son in a tragic accident Saturday night." Someone could have hit me in the stomach with a Louisville Slugger and I would not have been able to tell you the difference. I scrambled to the computer to see what I could find. Then the pain started creeping out of my soul.
I married a girl from high school when I was just twenty-three. We had a son immediately and things plugged along for a young couple who struggled but always seemed to get by somehow. Then we find out we are expecting another child. There were a couple of scares but a normal pregnancy. Then came a dreadful Wednesday afternoon. Playing around with my son she felt the baby kick real hard and then didn't feel her again. The next day we delivered my little girl. The doctor stood next to me trying to find something wrong with her, we never could. But two weeks before she was due to be born, my little girl lay motionless in my arms. The only time I would ever get to hold the shell where my daughter was supposed to be. I buried her a couple days later, and a cemetery in Alexandria, AL is where I go to spend time with her. She isn't there, but symbolically that is where I laid her body to rest.
Two nights ago that same sick feeling came over me when I heard the news about Bronner. I have known Rick for many years. We met through mutual friends back when he was doing his show "Butt Naked." He has come a long way, finding success in his career, and finding strength in his faith. This weekend he also found my respect. There is no greater pain than when the realization hits you that you have to make Funeral Arrangements for your child. You have no idea the feeling you get when you have to pick out clothes that they will wear for the last time. I have felt it, and now so has Rick. I handled totally different though. I questioned God, my faith and humanity. Nothing nor no one could justify this to me. Rick has not asked anyone to. I lashed out at those around me when they did not act as I thought they should have. As if they did not care. Rick has reached out to others first, not concerned with himself. These things got my attention.
I tuned in as most did Monday to hear Bill "Bubba" Bussey try to do the radio show and carry the torch. He did the best he could. He touched many a hearts in doing so. Tuesday came and he did the same thing he came on and did the best he could do . I tuned in at first to learn the details of what had happened. Then I found that even though it was tearing me apart emotionally I could not turn it off. I felt the same desire to listen on Tuesday. I listened as the anchors of Fox and Friends tried to spin it as a "Safety issue" or a lesson to be learned. Bubba simply almost effortlessly said, "No it is an issue of Satan trying to tear down something that is working against him." The broadcast on Tuesday was unprecedented on radio. I have not heard honesty and ministry on the air like that before. God used the men behind those microphones Tuesday. I felt like I was sitting at a table and the men on the air were sitting across from me. They were talking directly to me.
I grew up in church. From the age of seven to the age of about twenty three I was there every time the doors were open and a lot of times when they were not. But i lost interest. I lost sight of what I was there to do and slipped out of the door. It wasn't long after that I stopped listening to Rick and Bubba. I had been listening to Rick on the air since he was at K98 in Oxford. I met Bubba at WJXL in Jacksonville. And partied with Speedy in the "Playhouse." But they had all found their way back to church and that didn't appeal to me anymore. I have spent the last ten years going through some rough times. My marriage dissolved after my Daughter's death and then my ex took off with my son. I haven't seen him in six years, which is its own hell. About two years ago I met who would become my wife. We live a comfortable life but it has its problems. Church is not a subject we have ever discussed. We met in the world, and we lived our lives in worldly fashions. But for some reason around Christmas time I started listening to Rick and Bubba again. Can't really tell you why I just did. Now I know why.
Tuesday Bubba, Scott Dawson, James Spann, Speedy, and really every person that talked into a microphone said things to me that stirred feelings and emotions I had forgotten existed. Finally about nine o'clock I went for a walk into some woods where I had some peace around me and me and God had a talk in the rain. It was a tough one because I had a lot I had to say I was sorry for, and a lot that I had to admit even to myself. But I emerged from those woods a new man. I had a peace that i could not describe. My only concern was going to be my wife's reaction to this. This was a side she had never even heard of, much less seen in me before. So like a coward, I text messaged her the following: "What would you say if I told you I wanted to start going to Church." She answered me so quick it scared me. I read, "I would be extremely happy. Where ever you want to go I will be happy to go." This floored me I was speechless. I told her I had not expected her to respond that way. She told me that she had been raised in church as well, but like me had chosen to go down a different path. She too had felt the need to return to that way of life, but was afraid I would never agree to it.
As Rick said in his sermon during Bronner's memorial service, Bronner has ministered to more people in the last three days than most of us will in our lifetimes combined. The lives that have been changed is amazing. I know I am one of them. I have a new outlook on life and a new outlook on my marriage. And for the first time in the last ten years it feels pretty positive. Now I must do two things. First I have to find a church. It has been years since I have attended church. Years since I have been inside one. That is first. Second, I have to learn to stay out of the way and let God lead and guide me. There are a lot of questions in my life I have been trying to answer. The biggest one having to do with my son that I have not been able to see. I have to let God be in control and only when I can stay out of the way will it work out.
If you have gotten to this point in this story, Thank You for taking the time to let me share my heart with you. If you understand where I am coming from, or can relate, then let me know. I would love to hear others stories of triumph that Bronner inspired. You can e mail me at JimmyJimmy33@Yahoo.com. Also, if it isn't too much to ask remember Jimmy and Amanda Richardson when you pray. We need the encouragement. I have been out of his will for a long time, and it is tough to stay focused when I had made so many bad habits a way of life. Thank you for taking the time once again.