An Open Letter to My Daddy on Father’s Day
I loved him, I respected him, but I never really appreciated my father until I was grown.
I never really appreciated my father until I was grown. I loved him, I respected him and I obeyed him (OK … for the most part). But I didn’t really appreciate everything he was and what he meant to me. In time for Father’s Day, I’m taking the time to write an open letter to the man who taught me how to be a Christian.
You thought you and Mommy were done having children. You already had two girls. Then I came along. Weighing in at 4 pounds 13 ounces, I was the tiniest baby you held. And I was your last.
I look happy in my baby pictures. My favorite is the one where I’m snuggled in between you and Mommy. I was so little, you’d have missed me if you didn’t know I was there.
You taught me so much about loving God and reading the Bible. It wasn’t always in words, but the lessons were there.
The Quiet Lessons
I remember jumping out of my van seat and hugging you around the neck while you were driving, promptly sending your glasses flying out of the window at 55 mph. I cried, I was so upset, but you said, “Don’t worry about it, you were just giving me a hug. It’s okay.” You taught me mercy.
You cooked a breakfast of pancakes with crunchy rings around the outside. I can’t ever make those, even though I’ve tried. You always made a tiny pancake just for me, because I was the baby. That made me so happy. You taught me love, especially how to love in the little things.
Then there was the time I was 1,000 miles away from my fiancé and missed him terribly. I was depressed and couldn’t eat. I complained to you about having to stay apart from him for six more days. I’ll never forget what you said. “Six days is what you make of it.” It was the first time I realized I had control over my own attitude. And as it turned out, I didn’t end up marrying the guy. You taught me self-control.
Real Life Lessons
You weren’t all fun and games, and that is okay. Sometimes you needed to be Daddy. Like the time when you told (my sister) Amy and me to stay away from the one-man saw mill on the hill behind the house. It had an enormous exposed blade that could hurt us, you explained. But we couldn’t resist the temptation and climbed all over it. Then Amy fell, cutting the length of her tibia on a protruding screw. I ran to get you.
As you carried her down the hill, you fussed at her: “Didn’t I tell you girls to stay off the saw mill? Now this is why. This is what happens when you don’t mind!” You didn’t stop fussing until we reached the house. Then you took care of her.
At that time, I thought you were mad because we disobeyed. Now I know you were afraid and loved us too much to see us get hurt. When we hurt ourselves, you didn’t leave us to suffer the consequences our ourselves. You showed me what it means to be a parent to disobedient children. I didn’t get it then. I do now.
I love the story of you getting saved at James Robison’s crusade in Tyler, Texas. I treasure that story because it shows your tender heart and vulnerability. You said “yes” to Jesus and it set the course of my life forever in His direction.
On Wednesday mornings you took off work to teach us chapel. You read Scripture to us and assigned verses for memory work. When we memorized and recited them at the end of the year, you bought a Bible for us and signed it in your beautiful penmanship. Mine read “For 88 verses memorized.”
We didn’t just study Scripture for school. Each night you led us in Bible reading and prayer before bed. That is the one choice you made that has had the greatest impact on my life. I can still hear a verse and pretty much know where it is in the Bible. Thank you for that.
The most precious moment was when you came to me when I was fifteen and asked me if I really knew Jesus as my Savior. I’m not sure what prompted you to do that, but you did. You prayed with me to accept Jesus at a time when I was ready to make that decision. I was baptized later.
A Wonderful Model
Through the years, you’ve been a wonderful model of how to pray and study the Bible. Every morning, without fail, you study the Bible and pray for a couple of hours. I love talking with you about the meaning of certain Scripture verses. You always have an opinion. It doesn’t always have to be right. And that’s okay.
You showed me that to be a parent, you don’t have to be perfect. But your love and discipline made me who I am today. As a pastor once said about me, “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree!” Thanks for being that tree. Sturdy, dependable and unshakable in my storms.
I love you Daddy. Happy Father’s Day.