Dr. Dan Fountain has gone to glory. It is so hard to wrap my head around. I have spent much of the past 24 hours feeling bewildered, disoriented, profoundly sad. He was my great mentor, teacher, and friend. My kids called him "Grandpa" Dan. Sometimes I got emails from him that he had written for his family, signed, "Dad." What a privilege it has been to sit as his feet this past decade.
No other person has shaped who I am more than Dan. I have quite literally hundreds of pages of notes written while sitting at his feet. I can hardly set pen to paper without thinking of him--all that he has taught me, how he has encouraged me, how he has been an example to me. I can quote word for word so many things that he has said to me. He has given me words of encouragement along the way that I will never forget--monuments along the path of my journey. All of the time--especially when I am teaching--I find myself saying to others, "Dan Fountain, my mentor, says..."
It is somewhat disconcerting how difficult this is for me. I really do feel disoriented--like I can't think straight. The scientific side of my brain has been telling me for some time that this day was coming. Dan was in his eighties, and he had been in and out of the hospital for a year. I know those odds are not good. But I held on to him. I know that Dan is certainly more alive now than he has ever been. But I miss him terribly. He has been for me an immovable landmark--an ebenezer stone. To lose that milestone is more disorienting that I would have expected. I am in a fog. But Dan was not the lighthouse, he was just the lighthouse keeper. Jesus is the lighthouse that guides us to safe harbor. Dan pointed the way. God has called me to do the same. What a privilege to have been his apprentice. And there are dozens, if not hundreds, more like me. What a legacy!
Today there is great rejoicing in heaven. A real hero has come home. He has been told, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Dan, we are so proud of you. Thank you for investing in us. We strive to follow in your footsteps. I can't wait to see you again, over yonder shore...