I think every true father must understand the extensive shaping that he has on the life of his children. It is not until those children have grown that it is possible for him to evaluate the planting he has done in their hearts and souls for it takes a lifetime in the bearing of fruit. His seeds carefully sown in the heart of a young child might not appear to thrive, but if there is one thing about gardening we know, that as long as you continue to water the plant, and the plant is not utterly burnt due to neglect or abandonment, it will most likely return to leaf and bloom. Dad, as I evaluate the life you have provided for me, I probably hold certain memories more dear than those you might expect. It’s almost ironic in the constructing of memories that those times wherein parents try to create a wonderful experience –for instance, a trip to Disneyland or a vacation to some exotic destination—rarely are those instances the ones which child builds a deep understanding of who their father is, who they are in relation to their father and what role they should play in the family structure. Although you intentionally blessed our family with trips to Disneyland and vacations, it was in the relatively mundane repetition of Life that formed my memories. I remember, as a young child, sitting on my bed listening to you tell me that you didn’t want to break my spirit and it was not too far off that you gave me an “Indian name” up at Mammoth camping – “Kicking Pony”. It was the time you tried to teach me to sing using a candle and telling me that my nasal cavity should buzz with sound. I was trying so hard to please you with my voice. I fondly revisit the time you taught the “end times study” at TEFC and I was so worried that I would die before I was 16 having never been kissed. You spent endless hours with the Choral Belles. I love all the many, many times we went boating—and especially the night in Steamboat Cove where you couldn’t even get a line in the water because we were pulling bass into the boat too quickly. You built my loft at Biola for me, you walked me down the aisle- even after everything fell apart. You sent me flowers on the last day of work, at 34 weeks pregnant and when I was so tired. Now that I have children of my own, I cannot tell you the sweetness that I cherish when I watch you interact and engage with my girls. To see you so tender with Madeleine and the fun you have bouncing Gracie…it’s amazing. A father often feels the pressure to build security and safety for his family. Look what you have done; although you may not do the shopping, your hard work goes to bless not just your own children, but your grandchildren with gifts and lavish treats. I owe you a debt I can never repay- not just for the benefit of monetary needs, but for being my Dad- a stalwart who never gave our family a doubt about his allegiances- to the Lord, to his wife and to his children: the loving fruit of his labor.
Not many dads today are actually around, and those that are often find ways to disappear. And though there were times that I didn’t like it-thought you were “cramping my style”- I want to thank you for just being with us. You were never so busy chasing health, wealth or personal happiness that your family drifted away and out of your grasp. You’ve always been in my life, shaping and trimming and watering and encouraging me to flourish. Thank you for lovingly tending to me throughout all my seasons –and those yet to come.