This is one of those Father’s Days when I just didn’t get it together in time to have some sort of silly present show up at your house. And yet, sometimes I think to myself that none of those silly presents accurately portrays how I would hope to honor you. Plus, you are truly impossible to shop for. I found that rocket that takes ariel photos that I gave you in your closet, still in the package. I mean, if that’s not the best present ever, then I give up.
We recently discussed fathers in our Bible Study, The Organic God. Our teacher was trying to help us relate the good qualities in our earthly father to our heavenly father. She asked us to draw a picture of a good quality we think of when we think of our earthly father. It was hard to choose one. I drew a picture of my dad with money flying out of his pockets. My dad is generous. I have learned a great deal about money by watching you. Not so much about saving it, but that it holds much more value when it’s given away. I remember when you tithed a $5 bill one Sunday morning, several months after the flood had taken our home and you had been laid off. I wondered if that was all we had right then. I bet I have no idea how many people you have affected with your generosity, either by handing them cash, giving them a place to live, or giving them a job. I’ve seen you get crapped on by some of those people too, people who weren’t ready to help themselves, even though you were offering them a fresh start. I hope you’ve seen some earthly satisfaction for your generosity, but I know for sure that you will see a reward in heaven for it.
On the radio awhile back, they were talking about a guy who waved at his high school son’s bus every morning as it drove by (in costume!) for the entire school year. The kid was mortified when his dad made the news (consistency pays off!). They asked people to call in and talk about something their parents did that embarrassed them then, but they love now. I wondered how much time they had. I called in and told them about my senior year of high school, when I starred in Leader of the Pack. I remember that you made nametags that read “Kathy Fan” and handed them out to people (complete strangers!) in the lobby. How embarrassing. How sweet.
When Blake gets sick, I always think about how compassionate you always are when we are sick. I remember waking up to you praying for me, many times. I always felt so loved. And still, as a grown up, I know I can call you to tell you that I’ve had a headache for 5 days and that when you say, “I’m sorry girl”, you really mean it. There are very few people who you can still whine too like that once you’re all grown up.
I remember the first time I ever saw you cry. When I was 11 years old I turned my heart and soul over to Jesus. I looked up from that alter and saw tears streaming down your face. I thought, “whoa, this must be bigger than I thought.” It was. You told me not long after that that the most important thing in the world to you was to know that you would see each of your children in heaven. I understand that now. My faith in Christ gives my life it’s greatest purpose.
Another quality I closely relate between my heavenly father and my earthly father is that of protector. I’ll never know quite how many times you followed me around, or what you really know about my high school shenanigans (which were totally innocent-of course), but now that I have a child I completely understand. I remember when they wouldn’t give me a locker for the first 3 days of high school. We weren’t allowed to carry backpacks because Central was full of juvenile delinquents, so I was stuck carrying 7 books, binders, and supplies from class to class all day. You showed up on the 3rd or 4th day and carried my books for me, then waited outside class to carry them to the next one. They were dying to get you out of there, but you threatened to carry my books from class to class until they gave me a locker. I think I had one by 3rd period. Your presence at that school was a given, much to the principle’s chagrin. I loved knowing that if someone crossed me, I could call my daddy.
You are the hardest worker I know. I will never smell the combination of sweat and smoke and not think of you. To this day I cannot grasp how you can do the work that you do, but I’ve always been impressed.
Your smile fills up your whole face. As a child, I remember thinking that was the best thing I ever saw.
I know that life is not easy, and that the phase you are in now is challenging. I know that getting old must suck, and having your body not always cooperate with what you want to do must be incredibly frustrating. But I will never look at you and see anything but my strong, tough, teddy bear of a dad. You have built a legacy in your children and grandchildren. And I’m proud to be your favorite child.
I love you.