I bleed too.

When I created this blog, I promised myself that I would be real no matter what the circumstances were. You, as the reader, deserve to see a person who doesn’t just blog when things are good. But also when things are not so good. When all hits the fan and you wonder what to do. Well this past week a lot hit the fan, my heart took a beating, and now you will see me bleed.

Last week on Friday, My Papa passed away. He had battled Alzheimer’s for over 10 years and it was his time to go home. He got the call to the Big League in the Sky at around 8:45 last week. This was a man who had taught me so much. He taught me how to work many power tools and always put others first. This was a man who had been raised with absolutely nothing. He grew into a wonderful man. Born in 1925 in Muskogee, OK, my Papa, started life right before the depression hit. He didn’t know what was coming within the next five years of his life. But he grew into a man of splendid character and one who I will admire until the day I die.

He served his country in WWII as a torpedo man on a destroyer ship in the ocean. He always instilled in us a great sense of patriotism because he was a true patriot for this country. When he came home from war he met my grandmother and started dating the girl he would eventually marry. They were married for 67 years. Let’s think about that for a second. In this day and age some people’s marriages don’t last 10 years much less over sixty years. Even when his mind had been consumed by Alzheimer’s in his later years he still knew who my Mimi was and he always let everyone know that she was his world.

In his life he was strongly devoted to community service and to his church. he gave back as much as he could to everyone in the community. He was extremely gifted with fixing things and always lent a hand when he could or when he just saw the need to. He could fix everything. Us grandkids coined the term for Papa “Mr. Fix-It”. He could honestly fix anything and always did it with a smile on his face and love in his heart. The church called him before they called the maintenance man because they knew that he would be able to get the job done quickly and the right way, the first time. He was so good at what he did and I for 22 years got to watch him do what he did.

I am so proud to be the grandson of James Andrew DeCamp. He was a man that people could spend a lifetime trying to be like and they would not get remotely close. Now I have lost both of my Grandfathers. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that they both impacted me heavily and I am grateful for their time on this earth that  I got to spend with them. But the bleeding does not stop there.

Today as I was driving home to Memphis from Oklahoma where I had attended the funeral of my grandfather, I had my dog, Clark, in the car. We were almost to Russellville, AR and my tire blewout. Luckily I saved it and pulled off to the shoulder. I opened the door to check and see what had happened as I had just heard a loud noise from the car, Clark found a way to escape the car. He was then hit by an oncoming car that had nowhere to go. My pup that I had only had for three weeks was killed almost immediately. My best friend was no longer and as I carried him to the side of the road, blood running down my shirt and shorts, I told him that I loved him and that he could go meet Papa now.

I cried and cried. I’ve shed a lot of tears this week and shed even more today. But raising Clark taught me a lot and not just about life. but about the Gospel. I rescued Clark from the Memphis Animal Shelter which is a kill shelter and the one that the city of Memphis uses. God adopted me into his family by his son’s blood, that I would no longer walk in darkness and be an outsider. But that I would be an heir to the throne. I adopted Clark who was in the shelter for 2 weeks and was almost euthanized before I feel in love with him and rescued him. Clark had tons of energy and always was getting into mischief somehow once he warmed up to life at the apartment. I was always telling him “you can’t bite me” or “No, you can’t eat that frog” And in a few days I realized that Clark is me. I am a sinner who gets into trouble and needed someone to rescue me and needs someone to guide me, to hold me, to praise me, and to love me unconditionally.

Clark taught me more about the Gospel than I could have ever learned on my own. He taught me that I should long to sit at the Master’s feet and listen to him or even just be there. Clark loved laying by the couch where I lay if I am just watching Netflix, a ball game, or napping. I should long to sit at the feet of Jesus and just sit not try and be good enough or be holy enough but that I should sit there and love being there for the only reason of just being there.

We can learn a lot from our dogs if we just pay attention to the little things that they do. Heck they can bring us to a place where they are the teachers and we are the students if we allow ourselves time to watch them. I got to see this sunrise the other morning because Clark had woke me up because he wanted to play.

If you have a grandpa you haven’t seen in awhile, Call them and tell them that you love them. If you have an animal give them a hug from me and love them all the while. but also watch them and see what they are trying to teach you. Because you just never know what you will learn from your dog, cat, horse, lizard, fish, or any other animal you may have.

With a heavy heart,

Thad Ernst





  1. Pam Ernst · August 28, 2015

    Thank you for your words. I learn something from you each time you write a new blog.


  2. Janet Shaffer · August 28, 2015

    Oh, I am sad that you no longer have your Papa and that you lost your pup and your new best fiend. As you sit at God’s feet, may you experience comfort and love that only He can give. Thank you for sharing your heart.


  3. Janet Shaffer · August 28, 2015

    RATS! I meant FRIEND!!!!


  4. jernst56 · August 28, 2015

    Thanks Thad. Great lesson analogy. Love your words.


  5. Barbara Lewis · August 28, 2015

    As you sit at HIS feet, he has shown you great wisdom and holds you close and wipes your tears of loss. I pray for you a continued kind heart and understanding at God’s feet is the only way of life.


  6. Liz Roberts · August 28, 2015

    Thank you for sharing. I knew your Papa, I remember his smile. What a great man of God. It was an honor to be at his funeral service. I’m sorry to hear about Clark. My pets over the years have taught me great lessons. Peace be with you Thad.


  7. Diane Johnston · August 28, 2015

    Thad you sweet young man that we have grown to love. Your heartbreak makes us all look at some things in our lives that we need to change. I could start a list. God gives you the ability to see things from his perspective occasionally. Thank you for sharing your broken heart with us. Come see Boomer & Neville any time.


  8. Pingback: It’s okay to just be OK | The deep end
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