I mentioned a few weeks ago in my Mother’s Day post that I have an incredible father. I wasn’t kidding. I really do. I’m not just saying this because it’s Father’s Day. In fact, if you spend much time with me at all, you’ll learn quickly that I have a great deal of respect for my family – and especially my dad.
As a child, your dad is your hero. He’s Superman. He’s invincible. He’s above reproach. My dad was all of those things to me. He was so much fun! When I think of my childhood as it relates to my relationship with my dad, I think of laughter.
As I grew a little older, and started to become my own man – I think I tried to distance myself from him. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but his jokes seemed less funny to me, and there were times when I even felt a little embarrassed by his boundless energy and constant humor. Those awkward tween years were made even more so by my unwillingness to accept the fact that my dad was indeed ‘cool’.
As I entered adulthood, my family faced a serious crisis. After nearly 25 years of marriage, my parents considered calling it quits. And, for the first time I was faced to grapple with the fact that my dad was not perfect. What’s strange, though, is that now that I’m aware of my dad’s flaws – I respect him more. I know him. I know his weaknesses. I know he’s not Superman. I know he’s not invincible. But – he’s even more of a hero.
Watching him face his shortcomings and work to rebuild his marriage with so much determination and knock-down, drag-out grit taught me what it means to be a man. It’s not about perfection. It’s about striving for perfection. It’s about being willing to admit when you need help, and being able to accept that help when you need it. That’s not copping out; that’s courage. And my dad’s got it in spades.
My dad also taught me about passion. I’ve (literally) never known him to half-do anything. Ever. Everything he does bares the mark of fervor. At work, he cares about his patients; and he cares about his co-workers. At home, he loves my mom. I mean, he loves her like Christ loves the church – sacrificially. Around the house, he spends his free time making improvements. In his faith, he continues to grow – constantly striving to be better, to do better. What I’m trying to get across here is just that he’s a genuinely good guy that puts his whole heart into everything he does.
If creativity is hereditary, I got mine from him. In fact, I credit him with my love for language, for the written word. He, too, is a writer. And a wordsmith. One of the greatest I know. I’d bet you American money that if you were to ask him the meaning of the most obscure word that you can conjure, he’ll answer correctly. He’s just that good. He also loves music (and he’s a better singer than he’d ever admit). I really can’t express how grateful I am that he introduced me to artists like Jim Croce, Simon and Garfunkel, and Kansas!
So, Dad, on this Father’s Day, I hope you know how truly loved you are. I hope you know that I love you. I hope you know that I respect you. You really are my hero. Thanks for what you’ve taught me, and for what I’m still learning from you. Thanks for not always agreeing with me. Thanks for not just telling me the difference between right and wrong, but showing me how discern right from wrong. Thanks for respecting me. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for not being perfect. Thanks for teaching me about grace – how to give it and how to receive it. Thanks for teaching me about passion and creativity. I can only pray that one day my children will look at me the way that your children look at you. That I can be the kind of father that you are. I hope you have a great Father’s Day.
Stay cool, Dad.