My dad used to pick me up from preschool and we’d sing really loud in the car on the way home. Neither one of us sang on pitch at the time – it was grand! He used to call me his “big girl” making me feel capable even when I could barely tie my own shoes.
He was my hiking companion. We walked the trails at Big Sur, the Redwoods, and along the Columbia River Gorge. If there were stairs, we climbed them; at a hotel, the Coit Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, the Astoria Tower, we climbed them all– it was “our thing” and the more stairs the better!
As a teenager he called me “lovely” and “classy” and I believe him seeing me that way shaped the way I saw myself. It is possible that those words of love may have done more to shape my wise behavior choices than any amount of lectures or parental pontificating could have done. He showered me with words of encouragement and blessing. Never once did he use derogatory words like “stupid” or “clumsy” or “foolish” or even “silly” with me.
Because it was so rare for him to raise his voice, I can remember both of the times it happened – twice in my entire life.
Observing his life showed me how to be completely honest, love all that is good, and hate evil. He has taught me by example how to be a person of faith; that it takes discipline but that the rewards are eternal and priceless.
He is the very definition of authenticity.
When my mother was ill, he put aside all thought of his own comfort and focused all his physical and spiritual energy providing care for her. He fulfilled his vows to her beautifully and was by her side when she passed from this life to the next.
These past few years have given me an unexpected gift. With the passing of my mother, I’ve had the honor of having dad all to myself. He has become even more important to me now. He provides words of encouragement at precisely the right moment and he is generous with his affectionate language. It’s been a joy to interact with him without the filter of my mom. I feel that in many ways I’m just now getting to really know him – and the more I know him, the more I like him.
Recently I’ve given him the name, “The Old Prophet”. It seems God has gifted him with the ability to speak pure truth into the lives of others. He does it with me, and I know he’s done it with others. He is humble, and can’t believe it when we tell him just how profoundly his words have pricked our spirits. That’s just as it should be.
My dad is one of a kind. When I think of him I smile. I am among the most fortunate to have such a good man for a father.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!