I am reposting Santita Jackson’s heartfelt Father’s Day tribute to her father, Rev. Jesse Jackson.
I want to wish everyone a Blessed Father’s Day…
This is a great and necessary holiday—though, sadly, it is a holiday that fills many with ambivalence, anger, hurt or disappointment. My heart breaks for those who have t…hose feelings. The absence of your Father from your life leaves you wanting throughout the course of your life. I have seen it in my own Father—in his longings for his Father’s presence and protection. At 71, his pain is still raw. It is a pain that—no matter what the current conversation asserts—no one but a Father can ease; and his absence can only be filled by him.
Too often—day in and day out—we hear about what our Fathers are not or were not…
Thank God, that is not my story, and therefore, that is not my approach to this holiday. Let me tell you why.
I love my Daddy more than I can put into words…
All of my life—even before I was born—he has been my Protector…my Cheerleader…He has lovingly chastised and corrected me when I was wrong, and he has applauded the loudest—sometimes too loudly! LOL!—in my triumphs. No matter what, I have been able to count on him…And, for that I will be eternally grateful.
None of this has come easily. Indeed, I have never had the luxury of taking his presence in my life for granted. Actually, his presence in my life has been one of the greatest presents to my life, because I never expected him to live—at least not for long. None of those in his line of work did…Medgar Evers was shot while coming home at 43…Malcolm X and Dr. King were both killed at 39…The odds were not on our side. And, our Mother, my Sister and my Brothers were all too aware of this.
Because of daily death threats directed toward him—received at our home, his office and wherever he appeared—everyday that he lived, for us and for me, was Father’s Day.
Let me share a little story with you…
The week of my Senior Prom, I came across an article in PARADE Magazine that listed the 10 most likely global targets of an assassination. The Pope and President Reagan topped the list, and my Father was third. I was devastated, yet I never told a soul. I did not want to put any more pressure on my Mother than she lived with on a daily basis, and I did not want to upset my siblings—whatever carefree moments that they could have, I wanted them to enjoy. But, something more ominous was at play: timing. This was all too close to home. You see, just a couple months before I had read this, the President had been shot; and, tragically, three days after I read that piece, the Pope was shot in St. Peter’s Square. Needless to say, this dampened the joy of Prom Week for me. Killed it, quite frankly.
But, I will tell you what—who—restored it: My Daddy.
Because he had a huge speaking engagement on the night of my Prom—engagements which sustained the PUSH organization and our Family—it turned out that my Father was not going to be able to see me off. I was disappointed, but I understood. (In fact, he thought that my Prom was the NEXT week, thus the confusion.) As my Mother, Mrs. Odom, Sister, Girlfriends—Natalie and Darcine—and Miss Katie helped me to get ready, I heard some familiar footsteps coming up the hall toward my room. It was Daddy! I knew it before he knocked on my door. I screamed with delight. And he said, “I got to that airport and said, ‘I am not going to let my Baby go to this Prom without me!’ Turn this car around!” What a gift!
I have been Blessed to have had him for many more years. We have shared many joys and some profound pain, but I would not change a thing. Because, as Albertina Walker told my Mother and I years ago, “every joy and every pain in your life make you who you are.”
My Father, like yours, is human. All too human. And, in spite of that and because of that, he has done the best that he could for me and my Siblings. And he has given the best that he had to give to my Siblings and to me. Who could ask for any more?
Though it is hard to fathom, we all must remember that our Parents are first people. Their first names are not Mother and Daddy. They have names. They have their own histories, joys, pains and disappointments that they carry with them and that they bring to our relationships with them. When we get that, it becomes easier—and necessary—to view them with compassion and empathy. After all, they are as human as we are.
So, to the man who has adored me no matter what I have done—and no matter what I have looked like—to the man who has, more often than not, believed in me more than I have believed in myself—“Happy Father’s Day.”…I love you, Daddy.
And to everyone—I wish you Love, peace and understanding on this holiday…Happy Father’s Day…
Much love and many blessings!
Santita Jackson is an American singer and political commentator from Chicago, Illinois. She is a Fox News Contributor and an Executive Producer of “Keep Hope Alive” Radio.com. Santita is also the host of a television show on The Word Network