Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Tribute to My Father

My father was my first love, I called him "Daddy" and he called me "Sissie" until he died in 1986 at eighty-two from metastatic liver cancer.

My first memories are watching at the window for my Daddy to appear, walking down the street from the bus stop near our small house. I was three years old that summer. My father was grateful to have a job in those early post-depression days in the 1930's. Though he worked hard for little money, he was never too tired to pick me up, swing me around, and give me a hug. I called his hugs "Daddy's Bear Hugs."

In my young eyes, my Daddy could do no wrong. He was my hero - handsome, strong, wise, loving and "perfect." He never let me forget I was "the apple of his eye."

He was the lifter-of-spirits, the dryer-of-tears, the mender-of- broken hearts.

He was the one waiting outside at dismissal on the first day at a new school.

He was the one who could always find an ice-cream store after a disappointment or a hard day in my young life.

He was the one who expertly and painlessly bandaged skinned knees, or pulled loose teeth. He could make things happen and solve problems when there seemed to be no way.

His lap was always available when I needed a safe refuge, comfort, a short nap, or a good story.

His big hand always held my small hand, making me feel safe, even on the busiest streets.

He loved God passionately and served Him faithfully, and he taught me to love and trust God by his example.

He was the one who, by his faith and his zest for life, gave hope to our family, even in hard times.

He adored my mother and treated he like a queen. He treasured my brother, sister, and me, loving unconditionally. He loved his parents and cared for them in their old age.

He respected the men he worked with, no matter what their color or education, teaching me, by example, that prejudice is always unacceptable.

His love for his family was demonstrated by his life-long efforts to smooth out the rough places in the road as we followed behind him.

He gave up many of his own dreams to help me realize mine.

Never too busy to talk,  we had wonderful long discussions about life and many other things. He was so interesting and so wise. I miss that, even after all these years.

He knew James was God's choice for me as my husband before I did. He proudly and tearfully walked me down the aisle, a bitter-sweet moment for us both.

When he visited the hospital nursery to see my firstborn, his first grandson, the nurses thought he was the governor of Texas. He impressed most people that way, never entering a room without somehow filling it with his presence. His humility, I believe, kept him from ever thinking that he was worthy of such admiration or that he was the hero I thought him to be.

As wonderful as all his attributes were, I know that my father was, after all, just one of many wonderful, God-fearing men, with the same imperfections, failures and mistakes. But to me he stood a little taller, more special than any other. He was a godly man with a great faith and a huge love-filled heart - qualities God desires for every father.

I was devastated when I knew that my father was dying, finally realizing  he was not immortal as I somehow always wanted to believe, not being able to imagine life in this world without him. I turned in my grief to my Heavenly Father, who had been modeled so clearly in my Daddy's life, finding the love, comfort, and protection I needed so desperately. My earthly father had, by his example, removed for me the mystery of the fatherhood of God, and I had no difficulty surrendering myself with my needs, my pain, my grief, my loneliness to my Heavenly Father, my Abba.

My heart breaks for those who have difficulty picturing God as a loving Father, having never known one here on earth.

Thank you, Daddy, for teaching me about God, for helping me to know Jesus as my personal Saviour, and for making it a natural thing to talk to my Abba, My Heavenly Father, every day about everything, just as we once did.

"Daddy, I am thanking you today with a full heart for modeling for me so clearly the Christian way, and for teaching me about our Heavenly Father who makes every day, for me, 'Happy Father's Day.' "

by Lucy D (10-25-11)

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