Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Dad

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! For those men that are truly 'fathers,' you should be proud of fatherhood, and all the privileges that come with being a dad.

Today, my heart is heavy as I think about my father. He died when I was just fifteen. My dad was an unusual man. A grade school education is all he had. He sounded like a hillbilly when he spoke. Old fashioned and strict, things were simply black and white. He believed in discipline, respect for your elders, politeness and common courtesy. As a young teenager, I found his ways difficult and outdated. He truly was from a different generation.

My father was a consummate gentleman, setting a high bar for me in how he treated my mother. Such love I rarely witness today. His love for my mother was among the strongest things I've ever witnessed. He had his faults, and he struggled with things that were beyond his control. His health kept him from being financially secure, and was hard on himself for not being able to provide for his family like he thought he should have.

He was a devout man of faith, and believed the scriptures to be the inerrant Word of God. As a young man I had countless hours of conversations and debates with him. Ultimately, I found him to be right more often than wrong. He would be considered entirely politically incorrect by today's standards. He wouldn't have cared. He reflected a simple belief that Christians should be as much like Christ as possible.

And as stubborn and inflexible as he may have seemed, he was actually a man of incredible love and compassion. He loved others who had wronged him. He fiercely loved his wife & children in such an incomparable way. He demonstrated compassion and empathy for others, especially for the underdogs and those who had nothing. My dad loved animals, and taught us how to care for those beings who needed us.

My father had a crazy sense of humor. I can remember his hearty laugh to this day. It was genuine and contagious. And I miss it sorely.

Compared to the benchmarks of worldly success, my dad wouldn't have measured up very well. He taught me that materialism and temporal things are insignificant. Our focus should be on the Eternal. What we do with what we have in this life will make all the difference in the next. My father was a man of principal, and believed that one's values and morals speak far more about who you are than money and fame.

The older I get, I find myself saying the same things he said. Every day that passes, I realize how much he taught me (I must have actually listened at some point). As a young, self-absorbed teenager, I thought my dad was irrelevant. I often compared him to other friend's dads, and thought how lucky they were to have the comfortable lives they had. To an extent, I had allowed growing up poor to created a covetous mindset. How wrong I was. My father had given me a priceless inheritance. After his death, I began to realize those intangible things that couldn't be bought.

 As a husband and father, I've missed the mark many times. I can only hope to be the kind of man my father was. I miss you, dad.

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About Me

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I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.
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