It's been weeks I've thought about what I would say on this day. How do you take the whole of a man's life and impact the listener with the fullness of it in just a few minutes. I made a list of words, is there just one word that would describe the life of My Dad?
It's hard not to turn him into a saint and if you knew him you knew he was no saint. As a matter of fact, Dad was a transparent sinner. He sinned out in the open, for all to see. This was hard on the today's American church. Dad just didn't look like the common picture of that edifice. He was loud, he was politically incorrect, he told off color jokes, he hunted and rode a motorcycle and he came to church every Sunday with his wife and children, often sleeping soundly through the sermon.
So, as all the good is running through my mind coupled with the memory of this transparent sinner I grasped for a word to describe him. For days I've tossed around the thought,
"What makes a man remarkable?"
Is he remarkable when he drops out of high school and finds a career he loves?
When he goes on his knees in prayer to save the life of his unborn child?
And, when that life is safe he joyfully marries and loves the mother, child and her little brother as well?
Then he loves and pursues his wife for 38 years.
Do we call this remarkable?
And if he works the night shift and brings a paycheck home faithfully for his family those same 38 years?
What if he makes it known to his wife and children that they are his favorite people to be with. Because he always wants to be with them, building a house, doing yard work, vacationing, stocking shelves late at night in the grocery store, or just running to 7-11?
And, when he slips a disk in his back and refuses immediate surgery to bring relief from the pain because he won't be able to walk his girl down the aisle on her wedding day?
Then delays that surgery again because he can't let her drive an 8 hour trip alone on a new engine?
What if he gives his free time, every weekend, many hunting opportunities, to be with his son in prison on visiting day? If he does this for 6 solid years,
is that remarkable?
And when his face is the picture of sheer delight each time he lays eyes on a new grandchild?
Do we count him remarkable when he will drive 45 minutes just to kiss them goodnight?
And what if I told you I have found picture after picture of his face turned away, turned toward a crying little one that he is comforting,
Finally, when he is diagnosed with cancer and given a short time to live he embraces his family, friends and begins to talk, like never before.
He tells of his love, his faith to all who listen.
He demonstrates that faith more wholly to his family by his subdued anger, perseverance.
When he holds on for 3 years in unspeakable pain because he wants to be with them, be part of the party, not miss a minute,
Is this remarkable?
These are just a few of the memories I've mulled for weeks now. You have to be careful though because if you're not paying attention you'll miss the hidden hand in this picture of my Dad's life.
Dad steamed through life, often getting it wrong before he got it right. The moments I listed are Dad getting it right. He often told me that he loved to hunt because God met him there amongst creation. I know God did because Dad had to be meeting God somewhere effecting the change in Dad so he could get it right.
There were many hard times with my Dad but what I think made him remarkable is how God met him and in these encounters, he was changed.Dad went to heaven Monday evening and God was glad to bring home his transparent sinner.
I will miss my Dad,
He was a man made remarkable by a remarkable God.
You should know such a God.
I am grateful for all the remarkable moments:
That others miss him too and share in my loss.
A church where I can freely worship.
Quiet talks with The Man late in the eve.
A childhood friend who comes and is compassion and love and friendship.
Cool March day full of sun and wind.
Kids running in and out full of life and laughter.
Amazing members of the church body of Christ who open their homes, bring food, love and serve. I am overwhelmed by the love.
Family with stories that make me laugh and warm my bruised and battered heart.
Children who keep my electronics charged and up to date. A simple act of love in serving.