Twenty-one years ago today my father died. Even after all of this time, it's hard to write these words. They seem so final. Yet, even though I know the reality of the words are true, it is amazing to believe them when not a single day goes by that I don't think about him in some way.
I loved my Dad. He loved God. He loved his family and his friends. He found pleasure in the simple things of life - nature, reading, gardening, a good ball game (no matter the sport), all kinds of music, art, food, animals, ham radio, learning something new. He had a great smile, twinkling eyes, a muttley-the-dog laugh and beautiful hands.
So much of who I am is because of what He taught me. Some things he often learned by the mistakes he made in his own life. Mistakes he wanted me to avoid. He taught me the integrity of the lessons he learned.
He taught me how to play first base, how to catch and throw a softball - I never did get the hang of the bat, though. He taught me the appreciation of a good western movie, the pleasure of a good book, good poetry, a good steak and how to light a firecracker. He taught me how to mow the grass, how to plant a tree and how to prune a rose bush. He taught me to laugh easily and to not take myself so seriously. He taught me that the true test of a person's character is what they do and who they are when they are alone and no one is watching. He taught me that loving is hard work - whether I am the one to give or the one to receive. He taught me that hard work is worthwhile and how to value the things I have received and how to protect them and to take care of them. He taught me how to be a humble winner and a gracious loser. He taught me that adversity is often a part of life and there are always consequences to every decision that is made. He taught me to seek God with all of my heart, how to be faithful and to pray with confidence that God always listens and that it is okay to tell God how I feel. Lots of lessons that I needed to learn and to make constants in my own life.
Twelve years ago today, Joe proposed to me. I love this. I love the bittersweet connection of these two significant moments in my life. Dad never met Joe and I know they would have had fun together and enjoyed each other because they share so many of the same interests. And, I am certain my Dad would be proud of Joe and who he is and the way that he loves me. I like to think Dad would have been proud of the choice I made in a life partner and be pleased that I was never willing to settle for less than what he taught me God desired for me. Joe often tells me he wishes he could have known my father. I wish that, too.
June 28th is indeed a special day for me - a day to think about the precious gift of love that has always enveloped my life. The love of my Dad who taught me about my heavenly Father's love, a love that provided a foundation where I could grow and learn how to love; and, the love of Joe, a love that sustains me, challenges me and grows with me as we walk this journey called Life.
I am so grateful and I am so incredibly blessed.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7