Talks Michael Tait will never forget the day his father diedor the lessons his
dad taught him while he lived.
by Mark Moring
Sometimes, when hes taking out the trash, Michael Tait thinks of his
dad. And hell start to cry.
"Dad always told me not to waste the trash bags," says Michael
If the bag was full of paper, it could be used again, Nathel Tait would
tell his son. If it was full of garbage, it should be thrown away, because it would start
Ah, words of wisdom from Dad.
Michael says his dad was a wealth of wise wordsnot only about trash
bags, but about life and love and things of eternal value. Words that will forever cling
to Michaels soul. Words hed give anything to hear from his father once again.
Michaels dad died of cancer a little more than a year ago, and for
Michael, the pain is still fresh.
"It was the hardest thing Ive ever been through," says
Michael, a member of supergroup dc Talk. "Nothing hits you like the loss of a parent.
It rocks your planet, the very ground you stand on."
Ask Michael to describe his dad, and hes quick to say, "My
"My dad was such a poet," says Michael. "He always had
something worthwhile to say. I took in everything he ever said, because I had so much
respect for him.
"I always tell my friends, My dad said this and My
dad said that. It drives everybody crazy. But thats just the way I feel about
Of course, Michaels dad, who was a pastor, taught him about more
than just trash bags.
"Let me tell you the two most important things I learned from my
dad," says Michael. "Number one, love people. Thats what he taught, and
thats what he did. He cried with people, he laughed with people. Everybody was his
friend. He could care less about your race, your nationality, your socio-economic status,
whatever. All he cared about was you, your soul.
"Number two, live for God and dont get caught up in the things
of this world, because theyre just fleeting. The world will get the best of you if
you let it, so we need to truly live for God.
"My dad preached those two things his whole life. And those two
things have shaped who I am today. I love people, and I realize that life is short and God
is real, and that I need to live for him."
Michael was visiting his parents in Washington, D.C., during the Christmas
holidays in 97 when, two days after Christmas, his dad complained of stomach pains.
Michael took him to the hospital, where doctors found the cancer.
A few weeks later, after Michael had returned to his Tennessee home, Mr.
Tait started downhill pretty quickly. Michael called home every day to get updates on his
When Mr. Tait slipped into a coma in February 98, Michael flew back
to D.C. to be with his father.
"I spent the last night with him while he was still alive,"
Michael says. "The nurse had said that even though Dad was unconscious he still might
be able to hear me. I talked to him all night long, told him how much I loved him. The
whole family got to talk to him. We said, Dad its OK. You can go. Well
take care of Mom. Things will be fine.
"The next morning, I had to fly back to Nashville. I called that
night, and I was talking to my mom on the phone when he died. Shes sitting there
with my dad, and he dies while Im on the line. My mom started weeping over the
phone, thanking him for 53 years of marriage as he was slipping away, then she just
started wailing. Man, it was brutal."
Its a memory Michael will never shake. Nor would he want to. The
pain might someday fade away, but not the memories.
"I might be in the mall, and Ill see a father and a son, and it
hits me," says Michael. "Or I might be out for a drive in the country, and
Ill smell the dew off the roses, or the aroma of the honeysuckle right around dusk,
and Ill think about him. And a tear will come into my eye.
"The man was my hero."
Reprinted by permission, Campus Life