Introducing My Father

The man reading the first passage of ‘The Thirteenth Torment.’ is someone I adore. I will never tire of hearing his voice

It is my privilege to introduce to you my father. Should you ever meet him you will be struck by his bearing. That’s such an old fashioned word, but my father has it in spades. His presence fills a room. You will then be amazed to learn that he is nearly ninety years old. You would think him to be a man in his early sixties, and as he skips joyously across the room, determined to a) embarrass us and b) make us laugh, you will be astonished at his youthfulness and vigour.

Then you will notice his voice. It will entrance you. Some have likened it to a mixture of Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins with a bit of Shirley Bassey thrown in. This does not begin to do it justice. You have to hear it. And once you do you will not tire of it. It will bring a sense of peace to you.

My father is a retired Baptist Minister who has never stopped doing what he is born to do – preach. You may disbelieve every word he says but you will be drawn to his voice, struck by the strength of his conviction and his authority. His words may affect you in ways you don’t expect.

I have a dear colleague who is a Hindu. She wandered into my office one morning whilst I was listening to my father on a CD. She returned moments later to tell me how his voice had brought comfort to her. She went out of her way to meet him when he was traveling. My father prayed with her. She is still a Hindu, he is still a Baptist – yet they hold each other in great regard.

Small children are drawn to my father. They climb, unnoticed onto his lap as he chats at the kitchen table, and in moments they are asleep. Babies know where they are safe. When my own son, at the age of seventeen months slipped into a coma and was dying before my eyes, my father traveled through the night to get to us. As he pushed open the doors of our hospital room the daylight arrived with him and I knew everything was going to be OK. And it was. My father brings power with him.

My father also knows how to laugh; really laugh. He will tell funny stories – always involving some family member or other, and make himself laugh so hard that he has his hanky out wiping the tears from his face. It would make you collapse in gales of laughter just to see it. He only knows one real joke. It involves a man waiting for a train and it is the worst joke in the world, but he cannot get to the punch line because he laughs so hard. I love to laugh with my father.

My father cherishes his family with such great passion that we are enveloped in his love. He has taught us to be the same. In times of joy or crisis, wherever you are, whatever else you may hold dear, the call goes out to the family – and the family responds.

My father will not die. When he is called home to his Lord there will be Angels and Chariots . . . and from the mountains there will be the sound of trumpets and that will be that.