The guy in the picture above is my dad at 87. He died last week and everyone appropriately says, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” I want to take this opportunity to scream, “It’s Ok! He did it right!”
Dad was a kid that grew up kinda poor, and after serving in the Korean conflict, put himself through law school. He married an awesome school teacher who had grown up even poorer, and the two of them made a life including two boys and adopting a girl. None of us ever doubted that dad LOVED mom. He was Del Webb’s attorney and traveled the world building things and looking out for Mr. Webb.
Dad was a Renaissance man. In addition to being a professional, he sang in choirs, painted oils good enough to sell, wrote a book, and even built a cabin by himself. He could catch a trout with the best of them, had a collection of golf trophies, and loved to dance regardless of who watched. He was very generous of his time, serving as a scoutmaster and little league coach for many years, serving on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, and any position a church needed him to fill. He was always there for everybody, and there was very little Dad couldn’t do.
Dad never pushed religion on us, but instead chose to live a Christ-like life, SHOWING us how to live rather than telling us how to live. He quietly displayed what it looks like to live a life of dignity, integrity to the extreme, and fierce loyalty. If dad was on your team, you had a team member willing to die fighting with you. He never had to preach to anyone, because his life of service and self sacrifice for others was always there to witness. Many men have come to me since his passing to tell me how much his influence meant toward the shaping of their lives.
Perhaps the quote that best describes my earthly father, comes from another amazing renaissance man, Theodore Roosevelt:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Dad didn’t suffer with the disease of addiction, but he suffered with some of us that did. He modeled how to have boundaries without abandoning people. A very fine line to walk that most of us do poorly. He knew how to love people through their difficulties without approving of their reckless behavior. Loving those who suffer until they learn to love themselves is a life hack that we could all use at one time or another in our lives. Keep it on your mind as you move forward in life – unfortunately there will come a time where you find yourself with such a crummy lie that that’s the only club in the bag that will do.
I know not everybody has an earthly father like mine. Sometimes they display such horrible behavior that it becomes a barrier to understanding and trusting in our Heavenly Father. They are human and imperfect, but God is neither. You do not have to continue that cycle. If you were modeled anger and selfishness as a child, you can choose to plant your foot and pivot toward a new path. Model loyalty, integrity, faith, and above all, love to everyone around you.
In the end, maybe people around you will say what is being said about my dad,
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Way to go dad! You nailed it!
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