FROM THE VAULT :: lessons learned from dad
This month I’m looking back over the past 10 years of blogging to repost some of the entries that help chronicle a decade of public writing as well as reflect who I was then and who I (still) am now. A lot has changed, yet a great deal has yet to evolve, and so I am reflecting on these things without judgement or regret. Thanks for walking through it with me.
LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY DAD
originally posted on Father’s Day 2010
NEVER GIVE UP ON PEOPLE — I learned this lesson by example. My dad forgives, again and again and again. He never stops giving second chances, least of all to his family. And he’s been tested, thoroughly, by all of us, many times over and often through the same mistakes. But he never gives up on any of us. Thank God, he never gives up on us. My dad has never forgotten what it feels like to be forgiven, and he is quick to offer that to everyone else. In this way, he models our heavenly Father, making it very easy for me to believe in a loving, gracious God. I will never be able to thank him enough for that.
MARRIAGE IS FOR LIFE — and your word is your bond. If you commit, you don’t break that vow. I can remember a time when my parents struggled in their early married life, and many years later I witnessed them both verbally commit to never divorce and to always work through whatever challenges came along. Since that day, I’ve watched their love grow and their relationship flourish. I continually see them trudge through pain and anger and fear until they can finally make each other laugh again, and I know their example is rare and powerful. I understand the truth of enduring love because of my parents, and I understand how a woman should be treated because my dad has modeled it with my mom (and with his daughters). It’s a high standard of excellence, to be sure, and I refuse to lower my own standards because I know what I would be missing.
YOU’RE NEVER TOO BUSY — for family, for friends, for people in need. You might have other plans or ideas about what you want to accomplish, but God is in charge of all your time and when He creates an appointment for you, nothing else is more important. This is especially true for grandchildren and daughters who can probably handle things themselves but really want Daddy to do it instead. It’s far too easy for us to take advantage of our dad because he’s so willing to rearrange his agenda to accommodate almost any request. I wonder if being always available also makes him feel valued and irreplaceable? He is, of course. In every way.
THE LOVE OF JESUS IS OVERWHELMING — My dad has a soft heart, but he’s not necessarily prone to tears. Except when he speaks of relationship with the Christ. When my dad considers the sacrifice of our Lord and the depth of His love and grace, he can barely speak about it. The words always catch in his throat. His eyes fill with tears, and his heart swells. He frequently has to stop and take a deep breath before he can speak again. It was this way when he first began his relationship with Jesus, and it is exactly the same (perhaps moreso) 25 years later. Nothing affects my dad in quite the same way, not even his family. And at the same time, my dad bursts with true joy when describing that intimate relationship with our Savior. Nothing in life brings him more delight. Which is why I know that…
THE GREATEST CHARACTER TRAIT IS A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR — My life story is full of ridiculous and hilarious episodes, and many of those are directly tied to my family. My dad has always modeled a joyful life. He finds humor in everything. And he is quick to laugh! He and I share a quirky sense of humor, and he has a subtle, dry wit that perplexes those who don’t spend much time with our family. He’s really good at analyzing every situation until he can find something to laugh at, and even when things are the worst you could imagine and keep going downhill, my dad will always find some small goodness in the midst of it. He has a wonderful way of finding humor in the dark and difficult. Because of this example I’ve learned to laugh instead of cry – or at least to laugh in the midst of crying – and I’m always reminded of my dad saying, “Yes, it’s awful, but that’s the darlin’ part!” And after a time I can see that he’s right.
My dad, himself, is the darlin’ part of our family. He shows us how to love and how to live life fully, without regret and without turning around to focus on the past. He leads by example, and we have learned to follow. I am truly thankful every moment of every day for God’s great gift to us in my dad.