Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My dad is still speaking...

"[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking."  Hebrews 11:4 (Amplified  Emphasis mine)

I was reading this the other day and the last line hit me between the eyes!  I had to ask myself how those who've gone to heaven before us in our lifetime are still speaking to us today.  My logical place to start was with my dad.  Dad died 9 years ago.  What lessons did he leave behind that are still speaking to us today?  

My dad was a very unassuming man.  He was a mailman.  Not a postal worker...a mailman.  My dad loved people and he loved to laugh!  He was a practical joker--and was still at it after he'd had a stroke 6 months before he died.  Mom had hidden the car keys to keep dad from driving (trust me--he had no business driving!).  He continually found her new hiding spot and would go to the garage and start the car.  Later, he told us kids it was "to see your mom come running"--as he laughed.

If I had to choose 2 key lessons my dad taught me, the first one would be to forgive.  I had a teacher who embarrassed me in front of my entire class in 9th grade.  My dad's first response after learning what had happened was to tell me to greet that teacher the next morning with a cheerful "Hi, Mr.____!  How are you?"  My dad didn't elaborate, but I learned by doing this that I couldn't greet my teacher that way without first forgiving him.  My dad never sat me down and "taught" me anything.  He never expounded on anything with me.  Everything he taught was by example or from a conversation after I told him what was going on.

Another came about 10 years later, after I was married.  I was supposed to meet my parents for the evening, but conflict with extended family prevented me from coming.  When I called them (crying my heart out), my dad answered the phone and when I told him what was going on, he told me, "You're right where you need to be.   It's where we'd want you to be, if we could choose.  We'll see you soon...I promise."  From that experience, my dad freed me to do what I needed to do and to be where I needed to be.  He wasn't possessive of our relationship and was, in fact, quite confident of our love for one another.  I knew he loved me unconditionally and wasn't jealous of my other relationships.

Ok...and I guess my third favorite lesson my dad taught me was to laugh.  Never to take myself too seriously and to enjoy others through laughter.  I'm sure that's why I have such a big {loud} laugh.

When I asked my sister, Sandra, what life lessons dad taught her, she reminded me of some things that spoke to me as well.  Dad loved woodworking.  And he didn't just "allow" the grandkids to come to his shop...he enjoyed them being there.  He was patient and kind with them and let them use his wood and his tools.  I know my son is a builder today because of his granddad's influence on him.  Sandra was still at home when dad retired.  Dad worked 2-3 jobs our entire lives.  But Sandra observed that when dad retired, he knew how to slow down..and enjoy it.  I have to comment on that.  I never felt slighted by dad working so much.  I think I knew he was doing it for us.  We took great family vacations and he worked extra jobs to pay for those vacations.

Dad wasn't afraid to admit when he was wrong.   Sandra said that her son, Scott, confronted his Papa about smoking.  And dad gave up smoking on Scott's birthday.  He was also loyal.  If you were his friend, you were always his friend.  

I think it was obvious that my dad's life touched many people by how many attended his funeral.  He was a simple man who quietly worked behind the scenes.  He was proof to me that love speaks loudly and draws people in.

Yes.  My dad still speaks today.


Lindsey said...

Miss him and wish I would have had more time to hear him speak and learn a few things.

amy wright said...

There aren't many days that go by when I don't think about him. He made me feel comfortable just being who I am, and never made me feel like I was a burden. I still wish that I could just sit by him and lean on his of my favorite things to do. It was a comfortable, safe place to be.