Written by Rev. Dr. Jerry Black

“I Am (and) I Cried”

I am from Noble, Oklahoma—
the grandson of an 1889 land rush pioneer,
the son of a carpenter, farmer, and dairyman,
and a very traditional stay-at-home mom.

I am from the farm, dirt, cows, chickens and pigs,
blackjacks and scrub oak,
red clay and Boomer Sooner,
alfalfa fields, orchards, and gardens;
a two hole privy, and a two-room school house.

I am from graveled roads and small town America,
Noble High School,
and a graduating class of fifty.

I am from Baptist roots, colleges, seminaries, and missions;
the U.S. Army chaplaincy,
interim ministries,
and a Christian Church (DOC) embrace.

I am from the values of home,
hard work,
and faith.

And I am sustained by—
the love of God,
Susan and Stephanie,
Jordan, Lindsay, Clarissa,
Khris, Trey, Gage,
and you.

In the words of the Apostle Paul,
“By the grace of God,
“I am what I am” (I Corinthians 15:10)—

Now, I am retiring.
What a ride.
Thank you!

“I am (and) I cried” (Neil Diamond; change in emphasis, mine).

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