On this, the 55th anniversary of my birth, I give you thanks.
Thank you for …
…Champ and Sara Ruffin who loved each other and through whose love you created and nurtured me;
…Dr. George Henry who helped make sure that I got here safe and sound;
…the good people of the Midway Baptist Church, located outside of Barnesville, Georgia on City Pond Road, who showed me how to love you and to love others;
…those teachers at Gordon Grammar School and Lamar County High School who gave me a lifelong love of learning;
…the professors at Mercer University who prepared me for life and at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who prepared me for ministry;
…Dr. & Mrs. Howard P. Giddens who became my parents after my parents had to go;
…all of the friends I’ve had along the way who came into my life and who have allowed me to enter theirs;
…the medical professionals who have helped to maintain my health and, when necessary, to restore it;
...the people of the First Baptist Church of Adel, Belmont University, The Hill Baptist Church of Augusta, and the First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald who have honored me by allowing me to serve alongside them;
…Debra Kay Johnson Ruffin who has loved me unconditionally for so long;
…Joshua Lee Ruffin and Sara Katherine Ruffin to whom I am Daddy and of whom I am so very proud;
…the late-arriving but much appreciated lifeline of guitar playing and songwriting;
…the grace that has given me every moment I have had and every moment I ever will have; and
…the sense that has never left me—although it has been stronger at some times than at others—that you are with me, that you care about me, and that you are guiding me.