In my column recently, I shared with you a few of my most unforgettable moments and memories. I felt it necessary to reprint some that I have shared before for those who did not get a chance to read them.
Today, I am going to share some that I have never shared since they involve some special moments of my immediate family.
Like most, I am reluctant to present in a public medium these most precious moments because certain memories are sacred and no one out of the family circle should have the privilege and joy of sharing them. However, I deem it proper and relevant to share the ones that I will present in this final installment.
Love at First Sight
Each member of my immediate family (that consists of my wife, daughter, son, and me) have a special place in the treasured moments and memories that are set in stone in my mind.
Arguably, one of the most important memories in my life fit into the category of a “first sighting.”
If my recollection serves me right, it happened when I was in the ninth grade. I was working with my father and brothers on a Saturday morning in Minturn, South Carolina.
We had gone out to Minturn to build a pair of steps on an old farm house that was located quite a distance off the main road – almost in the middle of a field that was used to plant cotton, corn, tobacco, and perhaps other crops. My job was to make mortar. I needed to get a bucket of water to make a batch. When I went to the back porch where there was a hand pump and started pumping the water into the bucket, I saw an amazing sight.
There was a very attractive, light-skinned, slim, and tall girl that was very “country cute” peering at me through the kitchen window with a curious look.
Over the years, we have disagreed about which one of us had the greatest look at the other.
At this initial sighting, I will capitulate that I was perhaps the one who saw her first and out of my manly manner to look at attractive young women, I could not help but focus on this very beautiful country girl.
At that time of our first peering of one another, neither could imagine in our wildest dreams that we would one day fall in love and be married approximately seven years later in October 1972.
We both have come to believe that it was the sovereign hand of God that orchestrated our steps and the course of our lives to merge into one union.
A union that has experienced many challenges, difficulties, and hardships, as well as many triumphs and successes that have blessed countless people in our locale, nation, and around the world.
We both concur that our greatest blessing and gifts from God have been our children.
In His sovereignty, the Lord did not give us children through the process of procreation, but through adoption.
I well remember the precious, unforgettable moments when I first looked upon the face of both of my children.
First, my daughter, Jennifer, was only six months old when I first had the joy of meeting her. I will never forget the time, when my wife called me while I was in Chicago conducting a revival.
She told me about a little infant girl who she had got from her sister’s friend (the biological mother) because she was unable to properly care for her.
Amazingly, I was able to describe to my wife how this little girl looked over the phone.
When I finally came home from my trip and met the little infant, who would become our first child, it was love at first sight. When I held her in my lap, she reached out and touched my bearded face. I immediately knew that this little girl had innocently stolen a part of my heart that she has held captive until this day.
Next, when the call finally came in from the lady, who was assigned to work the adoption case concerning us and this young six-week old infant baby boy, we were full of excitement and anticipation.
It came all the way from the Department of Social Services Office in Richland County.
She had done a very careful and in-depth background check on us to receive this precious little boy, a few months before he was brought into our family. Guided by the hand of God, we were selected to be the parents of this little fellow who we would name Michael Eugene Goings, II (after yours truly).
When my wife, daughter, and I went to pick him up that day from the DSS Office in Columbia, it was love at first sight for each of us towards this little bundle of joy with an infectious smile that made you want to pick him up and cuddle him.
Beginning with my wife, we each took turns holding him and affirming our individual bond of affection, as the special case worker looked on with an expression of relief and joy that seemed to utter, “Thank, God… Now I know that I have made the right decision in placing this baby in the Goings’ family.”
Before we left, my wife asked her if she could put him on the new clothes that she had brought with her.
Her response was, “You sure can… He’s your baby now and he is your responsibility.”
Going on twenty-six years from that unforgettable momentous moment, the arrival of my son into my life stands out as one of the greatest and continual joys of my life.
My Most Grievous Memorable Moment
As was the case in last week’s edition of my column when I shared about my most regrettable momentous moments, I will do likewise in this final installment of a two-part series of my most memorable and momentous moments. I have broken with the principle or adage that the best is often saved for last and will present to you the worst of my unforgettable moments and memories. Worse as I am using it, does not mean substandard and inferring, but denotes grief and pain. I was in Zimbabwe, which is a country in Southern Africa, conducting a conference on church growth and leadership. I had concluded my teaching and lecturing and was resting for a few days as I waited to head back home to America. Then while I was trying to sleep, I received an alarming and very disturbing phone call from my wife.
“Mike,” she said in a very urgent tone, “Pray for Cymp (nickname for my sister, Cynthia Joan). I just got a call from her husband at the hospital that she’s struggling for her life.” Those words floored me and got me out of the bed and on my knees in prayer. When I left home, my dear and only sister was seemingly doing alright.
Though she had some physical challenges and health concerns, I was not aware that any of these things were life threatening.
About an hour after the first call, I got the most grievous and heartrending call of my entire life.
“Mike, we lost her,” my wife said in a very sad and somber tone.
“Cymp is gone,” she said weeping. It was surreal and nightmarish.
I was dazed and completely devastated. It was the worst phone call and news that I had ever received.
There I was halfway around the world and so far away from home. My little sister, who we (eight brothers) had longed for to be born and cherished until her passing, was now in the presence of the Lord. The sudden and unexpected passing of my sister has been the most grievous memorable moment in my life. Even writing about it in this edition today has caused my eyes to swell with tears of grief and sadness. Nevertheless, though I know that she cannot come back to me, one day I am assured that there will be a reunion; I will go to her and all my loved ones who have died in Christ (2 Samuel 12:21-23).
Join me next week, when I will once again endeavor to present something to you that will be informative, instructional, and hopefully will provoke thought and discussion in the process