Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Father's Heart

Those of you that live in the Tuscaloosa or surrounding area are aware of this because it has been in the news so much lately, but I thought I'd post it for the benefit of those that read the blog from other areas. Last Saturday radio personality Rick Burgess from the Rick and Bubba show (actually nationally aired, but most popular in the southern states) lost his 2 1/2 year old son, William Bronner Burgess. The show is not a favorite of mine, but is extremely popular for its "Good Old Boy" humor. One thing that I have always respected about it though is that both hosts make no secret of their walk with God. How easy it would be for them not to get into such a "controversial" topic...but they did it nearly daily.

Rick was speaking at a youth conference in Tennessee when his wife and 5 children were at home in Birmingham enjoying the newly fallen snow. Later that night as the children settled in to watch a movie mom Sherri decided to go and take a shower. When she came out Bronner was missing. Her worst nightmare was realized as she ran to their backyard pool. Somehow Bronner slipped out without anyone noticing and either found a door unlocked or was able to unlock it himself. Perhaps he wanted to go back outside to see the snow, but for whatever reason he drowned in their pool only to be found by his sweet and devastated mother, Sherri.

Rick was immediately told of the news and his best friend Scott Dawson, who was running the youth conference in Tennessee wanted to travel back with him. Rick thought about it for a split second and then asked him to stay behind to keep fighting the good fight for all of those teenagers. What an unselfish act on his part. Three days later Rick did something I don't think I could ever do...he spoke at his own son's funeral. The result was truly amazing. We may never know how many lives Bronner saved in his time of death. The church was open to the public and was packed out on a weekday...everyone having taken off work to attend the funeral of a little boy that most of them had never even met. Rick says in this service that he felt God calling him to speak at the funeral, to use his place of high visibility with the media to draw people near to God and challenge them to strengthen their connection with him. He said to Rick something along the lines of "I want them to see you and be perplexed and know that you could not do this without me."

The service is in three parts and I am telling you it is one of the most powerful things Jeff and I have ever heard. If you can't take time to listen to all of it I would say at least try to listen to the 3rd part. You will not be sorry that you did. Rick never cried...not once because as he said- Bronner is with the only person who could love him more than me... WOW! or