He loved when his friends would say, “Brother Morris, you are one of us.” Sadly, all four men have passed from their earthly home. Dad was honored to speak and sing at all their funerals. The friendship that began from a shared love of music grew much deeper over time through a shared love of Jesus Christ. When looking back it is clear, that Dad and his friends each had a role to play in each other’s lives. They each had unique gifts another in the group needed. His journey with them is proof that many times “God works in mysterious ways.”

Dad’s story is not headline-grabbing or provocative, and he does not pretend to know what should be done to heal the pain our country is experiencing right now. What his story does offer is a heartwarming example of what happens when people are open to each other. It reminds us of the blessings to be gained when friendships are not limited by race, culture, socio-economic background, political or religious beliefs. We can’t legislate or mandate a solution to our problems of racism or political divides. “Love thy neighbor” is in the Bible, not the constitution. However, we can lead with our hearts and treat each other with compassion, kindness and mutual respect. Maybe the way to change the world is one heart at a time.

Happy Father’s Day to all the good men out there who provide a moral and caring foundation for their families and also to those men who step up to fill that role when there is a void. You are loved and valued.

Camille Morris Hellwig lives in New York City with her husband, Jason, and their two children. Kathryn Morris Trotter lives in Birmingham with her husband, Chris, and their three children. Both Camille and Kathryn grew up in Jackson, Mississippi where their Dad and mother, Camille, still live today.