The last project I had worked on with my father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, before his homegoing was It’s All About Jesus, a compilation of hymns, scriptures, poems, and stories, as well as testimonies from Dad, Ken Blanchard, and Bob Phillips. I could tell that Dad was putting this off but was not sure why; however, with cancer in its final stages, the time had come to get this done.
I transcribed Dad’s testimony as he dictated. Although I had heard the story of Dad’s salvation many times before, this time he went further back into his childhood. I had never heard Dad talk in detail about this. I knew he was raised during the depression, that his education was lacking, and that his parents had split numerous times. But the impression Dad gave to me throughout my 46 years was that all had been made peaceful and, even though times were tough, they managed to be thankful like so many others of that generation.
Dad discussed in length the abandonment by his mother each time one of his siblings was born. He told me how embarrassed he was when he flunked the 8th grade and did not get promoted to high school with his classmates. He told me how embarrassed he was that he did not have “dapper” clothes to wear and a father to teach him how to play sports. He detailed how relatives, who were supposed to be taking care of he and his siblings, were actually quite cruel. He never once assigned blame or self pity. It just simply was circumstance.
Dad cried at the end of the dictation and I can only remember seeing him cry twice before in my entire life. He told me he was no longer embarrassed by the humiliation and shortcomings of his upbringing. It was cathartic for him to get it all out and it was nothing short of mind-blowing for me to hear. I had not realized how deep the pain was or how severe the abandonment was for Dad growing up. All I had ever known of my father was that he was a strong, tenacious, gregarious, Christ-driven man who had a star quality like no other.
It took a while for me to digest how these “bad circumstances” had made him all that he was meant to be with his Christ given talents…and more. And then it was my turn to cry, although I did it in private. I cried because for the first time I saw how my Dad had been hurt as a child. I cried because he had carried so much of the details with him honorably inside so as not to damage a grandchild’s impression of her grandparents. I cried because I saw how much the suffering of a childhood devoid of loving parents could grow such a giver of love to all. I cried because I finally understood why he guarded this and how it could help others in similar situations.
Dad’s whole life was a testament to the fact that it truly, wholly, purely, and unconditionally is all about Jesus.
This book is scheduled for release Feb 25th, 2010.
I don’t think that there are actual words that can define the immense personal nature of this revelation you have shared about Charlie and his early beginnings. Don(Hutson) and I love Charlie every day and this deeply personal insight into his early childhood pain helps me understand Charlie’s relentless need to love and forgive.
It is perhaps the most profound “post” CTJ gifts I’ve received yet. Thank you for sharing this special insight with all of us who love and miss Charlie every day.
With love and gratitude
Terri Murphy Hutson
I am very much looking forward to the new book.
The circumstanecs of Charlie’s life do not reflect the man he became, but they do refelct an inner strength.
Although I only knew Charlie later in his life, he was not lacking in education, though his education was somewhat different.
The Charlie I knew was a warm and giving man, a man who shared everything, especially his love of Jesus and his love of learning.
The Charlie that I knew made everyone else feel important.
The Charlie that I knew made everyone around him feel loved.
The Charlie that I knew made everyone within his proximity smile and feel warm.
The Charlie that I knew was the best hugger the world has known.
The Charlie that I knew shared his time and his family (his wife, daughter and his daughter’s dog!) with me when I came to visit. Then he took us all to dinner!
The Charlie that I knew will be waiting for each of us on the other side with a big hug.
I am looking forward to my next hug Charlie – I can feel your smile.
Way to go Tracey!!
I loved Charlie. Thanks for shraring this. Perhaps this is what made Charlie so appraochable – and dare I say huggable. :))))
Terri, you hit the nail on the head. His late revelation to me explained a great deal about what drove his compassion and love, as you said. All our love to you and Don!!
Mark, thank you for your recollections about Dad. I often think of our lunch at the Silver Spring Diner:-) I am anxious for you to see the book when it’s released next week. I too am confidently looking forward to that big hug on the other side!
Mike, you are most welcome and thank you for reading it and commenting. I do think those early years had a big impact on his superior hugging abilities and approachability:-)
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