If Tomorrow Never Comes…

I ‘ll need to confess here at the start that there are a few Garth Brook songs that I really enjoy.  Rachel and I listened to one of those on Saturday.  It was the song “If Tomorrow Never Comes”.

Today is Father’s Day and as I was reflecting on all four of my children that I love so much, I thought of Chandler.   I was remembering back a year ago, which I would never have guessed in a million years would be my last Father’s Day with my son.

I reached into the front pocket of my back pack and pulled out a folded letter that I have carried around with me for the last year.  It is a prized letter that Chandler wrote to me exactly one year ago today.

It is a letter with a simple message of appreciation for what a father gives his children in providing and raising a family.  It is a message of gratefulness and a message saying ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’.

Letter to Dad June 17, 2011

There is much I would love to share and to point out in this letter; but the message I will share today is the mere fact that Chandler had a heart of gratitude, and that he took the time  to write out this message of thankfulness to me, his father.  And Chandler had an extremely busy week that week ; finishing a summer class in college, leaving for Jesus Camp the next day,  Summit 2 week camp next and then vacation to Montana.  I’m sure the thought never crossed his mind that this was his last opportunity to share a message with me before he would leave this earth and enter eternity!

The question I cant get out of my mind is- What if he hadn’t taken the time to write this letter and share his love and appreciation with me?  What if he had let the busyness and fatigue cause him to put off what he wanted to share?

Now, really I’m speaking to myself here, but please DONT let the busyness and demands of this life keep you from sharing your heart with those you love.  As Garth Brooks sings “tell that someone that you love, just what your thinking of…if tomorrow never comes.”  Thank you Chandler for giving and sharing your self and your heart and for giving me one of the most prized and treasured possessions I will ever have.

Chuck Brazell

PS.  Notice at the bottom of the letter he writes, “I love you..and I love God’.  There is nothing that gives me more joy than to know that my son loves me and that he loves his God.  And there is nothing that matters more NOW and into eternity than that he loves God!   I love you too, son!

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14 Responses to If Tomorrow Never Comes…

  1. Wanda Voorhees says:

    WOW!!! That letter and what you wrote here just blows my mind…the stature of your son at his young age, too…I wish I knew him in person, but then again, I feel I’ve known him (and your family) ALL my life. It’s amazing how God does that in our hearts as we are touched with the lives of others. Whatever you (and Rhonda) have done, it’s obvious you have done SO righteous, because it is exemplified in the lives of your children…thank you, once again, for sharing these things, even though I know it wasn’t easy to remind yourself, again, of the physical loss of your precious son.

  2. What a precious, precious keepsake from your beloved son, Chuck! And what a poignant to redeem our time wisely by encouraging and affirming our loved ones while we have the ability and opportunity to do so. Thank you for another glimpse into Chandler’s heart, which was obviously so full of love and respect for his father.

  3. Rhonda Dunklin says:

    Chuck, how blessed you and Rhonda are to have children that love God! Chandler’s letter reminds me of the verse in Mark 1:18 “Straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.” How he did whatever the Spirit called him to do without delay. Spurgeon said, “Let him hasten to fulfil any duty impressed upon him before the holy glow has departed from his soul.” What a treasure for you that Chandler did not quench the Spirit during this busy time in his life!

  4. Craig Brown says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing that. And a note to any recipients of such a letter…remember to never throw such a thing out! You might never know when there will come a time when you need to be reminded that you were loved and appreciated.
    What struck me personally while reading that letter is that I recognized the handwriting…in the same script as the letter Jimmy wrote to me and sits tucked away on my desk like a missive from an angel.

    • Chuck Brazell says:

      It didn’t cross my mind that you or others would recognize his handwriting from the notes or letters he had shared with you. Your suggestion to never throw away notes like these has proved to be very true in my case. I so thankful I have this and others. Thank you for sharing Craig!

  5. Linda says:

    Chuck, apparently the busyness of life has delayed my reading of this much-needed message! I was convicted ~ a young man who took the time to reflect on the seemingly mundane things in life such as gas, clothes and food — precious gifts from our heavenly Father that we all-too-often take for granted and never thank Him.

    It is a refreshing look at a young adult’s love and appreciation for his father – something we don’t often ‘see’ in our culture these days. I was touched by the fact that he signed his last name – acknowledging that he is a legacy to the Brazell name! He carries on his legacy in heaven and his name lives on through the work you, Rhonda and your other children are doing to share not only about Chandler, but the work he was so passionate about sharing with the world.

    May we each learn for this — the desire to carry God’s message of His Son to the world, in the same way you have carried this precious letter from your sweet son!

    Many blessings to all of you!

    • Chuck Brazell says:

      Linda, you always make the coolest observations. I never picked up on the fact that he signed his letter to me as Chandler Brazell, including his last name. Your suggestion that his legacy lives on is awesome. The book of Hebrews chapter 11 talks about our testimony (our life and our faith) living on even after we are dead, through eternity. Thank you for sharing these observations!

  6. Dina Ash says:

    Thanks for sharing! Chandler certainly had a grateful heart and what a blessing that he took the time to share it. He loved and honored his family…what a blessing!!

  7. Dane Altman says:

    What a wonderful treasure!

  8. Janet Baber says:

    Chuck, thank you for sharing this very personal treasure from Chandler. It is hard to put into words the emotions his words evoke. You are a great father to all your children, but it is comforting to know that Jimmy took the time to pen these words to you when he did. As you say, may we all learn this important lesson from the example of our beloved and much missed Jimmy.

  9. John Clark says:

    This world is full of displays of tuff guys, strong men, heros of some sort that we all read about in newspapers and see on T.V. But the real strong, tuff, heros in my eyes are the Dads who get up every morning and go to a hard job to support their family, they are the ones that put themselves aside to go out do what really matters most. These are the real heros in this world, even though many go unnoticed this is where true success comes from! You are Jimmies Hero Chuck and always will be!

  10. Laura Scott says:

    I wonder if the quote at the end of this beautiful letter is from the song…”How could I ask for more?” (found the beautiful story of your son from our friend, Grant Anderson’s FB page)

    There’s nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
    Waking to the sunlight, and being cradled by the moon
    Catching fireflies at night
    Building castles in the sand
    Kissing Mama’s face goodnight
    Holding Daddy’s hand
    Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

    Running barefoot through the grass
    A little hide and go seek
    Being so in love, that you can hardly eat
    Dancing in the dark, when there’s no one else around
    Being bundled ‘neath the covers, watching snow
    Fall to the ground
    Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

    So many things I thought would bring me happiness
    Some dreams that are realities today
    Such an irony the things that mean the most to me
    Are the memories that I’ve made along the way

    So if there’s anything I’ve learned
    From this journey I am on
    Simple truths will keep you going
    Simple love will keep you strong
    Cause there are questions without answers
    Flames that never die
    Heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise
    So thank you Lord, oh thank you Lord
    How could I ask for more?

    • Chuck Brazell says:

      Wow, thats a cool song Laura. I appreciate you sharing that. Jimmy’s song “How Could I Ask For More” is a song that he wrote and presented to Rhonda and myself (his mom and dad) on Christmas 2008. It’s obviously a very special song to us and he referred to it sometimes as he did in this letter he wrote to me. Maybe I’ll share the song sometime. Thank you for sharing!

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