I REMEMBER DAD
“ I have seen strength, like an oak in the storm…I have felt gentleness, like a golden summer dawn…I have felt protection, like a shelter all around…All from a life that gave me life…All from my father’s love.”
When I was a little girl, my father & I had our own special game. When he came home from work & pulled in the driveway, I would run out of the house & jump on his back the minute he stepped out of our Pontiac wagon. He was my ride to the house & my kisses were his fuel. Whenever he slowed down or needed extra energy to get up the steps, I’d plant one on his cheek.
Dad had a special way of doing things & made memories out of seemingly insignificant events. Saturday night was grocery night & every week there were 3 twin pops, one for each of us kids. When we played rummy or board games, it was Dad’s signal to make popcorn. Nobody else quite did it like he did. His boyhood stories were some of my favorites. Even though I knew them by heart, he told then the same every time, never omitting details. Oftentimes I would ride bike to the lumberyard, where he worked, to visit him on his coffee break. He always greeted me like I was someone special & he’d introduce me to customers. Dad was appreciative of anything he received & made gift opening quite a production!
I guess by the world’s standards, most people would say we didn’t have much growing up. Even though most of our clothes were hand-me-downs or sewn by my grandma, & we didn’t have TV or an abundance of store-bought toys, I never felt cheated. What we did have, money couldn’t buy. I sincerely believed I had the best Dad & Mom in the world! As I grew up, graduated from high school & college, and married, Dad & Mom seemed to get smarter & smarter. When I had babies of my own & began experientially understanding the sacrifices they made for us, they appeared downright brilliant!! 😊
Years ago during my quiet time, God clearly showed me the treasures I’d been given. The legacy my father passed on to me was alive in my family. I saw it in myself, I saw it in my beloved husband, & I was seeing it’s fruit in the lives of my precious daughters. So, I thanked Dad. I thanked him for being an example of a diligent, hard worker who pursued excellence in every task. Born out of necessity, Dad could fix almost anything & it was usually better than before it broke. I used to tell him that anything he repaired would last until Jesus came back! I thanked him for walking in integrity all his life. My Dad was the same person at home that he was in public. He wouldn’t have considered cheating in any form—not in his work, his finances, or his marriage. I never once saw him look at, or speak to, other women inappropriately. Always a gentleman, he treated people with dignity & respect. I thanked him for giving me a passion for old-fashioned values & strong family ties. Even though expressing his feelings didn’t always come easy, Dad’s hugs were generous and I-love-you affirmations were frequent. We never doubted that he was 100% for us. When we hurt, he hurt. He lived what he believed, & to a child, actions do speak louder than words.
My heavenly Father unexpectedly called my earthly father home, one spring day some 20+ years ago. My Dad wasn’t perfect, nor did he pretend to be. He made mistakes. But love covers/doesn’t keep score & forgiveness heals. My relationship with him was honest, loving, & reconciled. His passing left a huge hole in my life, but I could release him to the Lord without regrets. I think that life is too short to harbor grudges & go to bed angry. We can sometimes get “stuck,” emotionally, and live “hung up” on issues that don’t matter in the end. Those time wasters are traps set by the enemy, for the potential destruction of our lives. Love your family while you have them. I don’t think you can ever prepare to lose them...regardless of how long you do, or don’t, have them. In the end, I think we’ll fully understand that the only thing that ever really mattered was relationship…first with Christ, second with family, & then, with whoever else God brings across your path.
We still talk about my dad. He’d likely be pleasantly surprised about that! Overall, I believe dads do the best they can with what they’ve been given, & with what they understand to be “wise” at decision time. It’s important for them to know they are loved & accepted, despite past failures & weaknesses. I know I’m not the first to say that I wish I’d known as a young parent, what I know now, as an Oma. Pray for your Dad. Don’t assume he knows how you feel or that he doesn’t need to be affirmed. Someday, you’ll be older, & looking back, too. Treat him now, how you want to be treated then. <3