On Wednesday, February 22, 1989, life changed for our family. The Kentucky State Supreme Court wrote in a recent decision that “a customer found Marvin Hensley lying in a pool of blood ; he had suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and one to his hand.”
It’s been 2o years since that day and I am writing to give honor to the memory of the most influential person in my life – my Dad.
Dad enjoyed his life. He loved his family. He enjoyed people. He was passionate about his relationship with God. On the morning he died, he had prayed for those on his prayer list. He included the names of his family and others from his church on that list. I remember see his Bible on the counter at his gas station on the morning of his death. His radio was tuned to a local Christian station. This was the focus of his life.
Dad taught me the importance of hard work, family and the willingness to take a risk now and then as Dad did when he started his own business and later as he began the work of starting a Church.
As a young boy, I do not remember attending church other than when we visited my grandparents. My Mom and Dad were both raised in church. Dad’s father was a pastor. Mom’s parents were active in their church as well, but it was not until 1967 when Dad decided to follow Christ that our lives began to change.
Dad’s decision brought about real change in our family. The focus of our lives began to center on the church where we lived near Knoxville. I have flashes of memories…watching my Dad be baptized in a creek…my Mom and Dad working around the church…carving my initials in one of the pews in the church. And I remember sitting on the second row at our church in Powell, Tennessee and making a decision to follow Christ in the summer before I turned six years old.
Dad’s decision changed my life as well.
I think of him often and the faithful life he lived in front of all of us. He was not perfect, but Dad’s life was marked by his care for others. I remember a man who was in need of a job and a place to stay. His life had been devastated by alcohol. Dad provided the man and his wife with an apartment and a job and spiritual help as well.
C.S. Lewis wrote that “until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self…”
My Dad was a real self.