A Journey From Darkness To Light

I am going to share with you a synoptic saga of the most important and influential man that the Almighty (in His providence) set in my life – second only to Jesus Christ.
The man, of course, was my father who I am growing in understanding why he was chosen to be my father and first source of discipline and supervision.
The life of my father would be an ideal story for a television or cinematize presentation. Perhaps that is in the cards of possibility and future fulfillment. However, I am going to give you a brief synopsis of the life of a truly amazing man who I am thankful to say was my father.

Unequal Among
His Peers
According to many of the people who grew up and went to school with my father, most have told me that he was easily the most academically inclined student in their class.
One shared with me about a certain incident that happened in a math class. My father challenged his teacher about a math problem that he believed he had given the right answer for on a test, but it had been marked wrong.
When the instructor went back and closely examined the answer my father gave to the math problem, he admitted that his answer was the right one and gave him credit for it. Another amazing story was told about my father’s days as an outstanding baseball player.
The story does not showcase my father’s athletic exploits on the baseball diamond, but his subduing of a bull (which was actually a cow) that was interfering with a baseball game that he was playing in.
The animal came on the field, that was probably a place she was accustomed to grazing in and would not move. The report goes that when all attempts to remove her failed, my father summoned the courage to take matters into his own hands.
He went to the beast and hit her in the forehead right between the eyes and the once stubborn animal that had refused to move became very docile and was easily removed from the field.
In my estimation, one of the most remarkable things about my father was the fact the he employed more African-American men during the span of his tenure as a subcontractor than any other black employer in the history of Dillon County. Had it not been for Mr. Jim (as they referred to him), many black men would not have had a job and been able to provide for themselves and their families.
One of the things that made my father an unequal among his peers was that he was a defender of the weak and underdog, especially women who were being dishonored, disrespected, or sexually harassed in his presence.
Over the years, quite a few people have shared with me about instances when my daddy intervened as a courageous cavalier to rescue and protect women and weak folk who were being bullied or harassed.
My father had a saying that the chip don’t fly but so far away from the tree when you are cutting it down.
In regard to this aspect of my daddy’s character, I have been truly a chip off the old block.
Like him (and my mother, too), I have been a defender of the weak, harassed, and bullied practically my entire life.

Vices, Volatility,
and Violence
It would be both deceptive and a denial of truth if I failed to include in this short bio of my father a side of him that was atrocious and awful. With all of his outstanding qualities and astounding achievements, my father was (in a true sense) a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde merged into one person.
I have already given you some of the good characteristics of his Dr. Jekyll side, now I will share some of his Mr. Hyde traits.
My father, like all of us, was certainly not a perfect man. He had many flaws and vices that greatly diminished his brilliance and greatness. At the very top of the list of his flaws and vices were alcohol and sexual promiscuity.
These vices not only marred him, but also ruined his marriage as well, ultimately leading to domestic violence (wife beating) and a legal separation between him and my mother. I can only imagine what my highly intelligent and gifted father could have accomplished had it not been for the vices, volatility, and violence of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde complex that he seemed unable to free himself from.

A Clash Between
My Father and Me
As my brothers and I grew older and weary of the domestic violence that my father (in his anger and drunken condition) perpetrated against our mother, we all knew that we could not continue to stand idly by and allow him to hit and physically abuse her, as he was able to do when we were too young and afraid of him to intervene.
More than once, we gathered around him like a pack of wolves to the slaughter of a large prey due to what he had done or attempted to do to our mother
My mother not wanting us to have our father’s blood on our hands would calm us down and call us off of him by insisting that he had not hit or slapped her, even though on one particular incident her face was swollen from a few licks from him.
During this particular incident, even my two most non-aggressive and calmest brothers had been pushed and provoked to the breaking point and was ready to pounce upon our father.
Nevertheless, we didn’t because of my mother’s pleading. A few months passed and he knew that a change had finally dawned in the Goings’ family and that the sons he sired would no longer allow him to physically abuse our mother as he had grown accustomed to doing when we were younger.
However, old habits and practices are hard to break and this is especially true when alcohol, anger, and pride are the motivational influences behind them.
What was bound to happen did and it occurred at a time when I was the only one of his older sons present, who he knew would challenge him. He and my mother got into an argument and one thing led to another until she knew he was going to become physically aggressive and violent.
When he was distracted by something that held his attention, she made a quick dash for her car and attempted to drive away with her doors locked.
My father picked up a brick hammer that was lying around and rushed to her car before she could drive away.
With the hammer, he broke the driver’s side window and attempted to take the key out of the ignition.
At the sight of his very angry and violent attempt to stop her, I picked up a steel spirit level about three feet long and sprang into action at the defense of my mother.
Like an enraged leopard, I leaped upon the hood of the car and struck a few blows to my father’s head that got his attention on me and away from my mother and the keys of the car.
He challenged me to a fair fight of which I wisely declined.
With my mother now being free, she was able to drive away and escape his violent attempt to harm her.
The old man ran behind me with the hammer, but he was much too old and intoxicated to catch me.
I ran like a frightened gazelle from the fury and wrath of the beast he had temporarily become in this drunken violent state. That would be the last time that he would attempt any aggressive and violent act against my mother due to their legal separation.
In the ensuing months that followed, I made peace with my father, especially after I came back to the Lord. That incident was one of the most challenging and regrettable experiences of my life. If I could go back in time and change it, I would!

The Killer That Saved
My Father’s Life
In this brief synoptic bio of my father, it is both sequentially conclusive and celebratory that the very last stage of his life, which was a span of only about eight to ten months, was the most important time of his life.
My father discovered that he had an inoperable prostate cancer at the age of seventy-four.
This killer disease quickly diminished his health and vitality and rendered him to a shell of the man that he used to be physically.
Two amazing things occurred during the time of his steady decline.
First his pride and rejection of receiving Jesus Christ was completely shattered.
Finally, his hard heart became pliable and he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior while in the hospital through the leading of his World War II buddy and friend, Mr. Major Bethea.
My father joined our church and the man that God had chosen to be my natural father became my spiritual son.
His time as a member of our church was very brief, but it was indeed a delight to have him as a member of the flock.
During the last few days of his life, he experienced some very intense agony and pain because the killer cancer had spread throughout his body. Nevertheless, he never complained.
The last lesson my father taught me was how to die with dignity. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, “I’m alright, son. I am just looking forward to going home to be with my Lord.” Not many days after he spoke these words on April 11, 2000, he got his request from the Lord. My father breathed his last breath and stepped out of his body into the presence of the Lord to remain there forever.