I never knew what is was like to live with an unsaved Dad. Daddy came to know Christ when I was only two years old. As I grew up, he took us to church where he served as a deacon. His example set the course for my life.
Daddy disciplined with compassion. I remember a time that we were playing around on the bed, and mom warned me to stop. I didn’t stop, and I accidentally kicked the window, which consequently shattered. Daddy worked hard to make ends meet, so this added expense hurt. All day long my mom told me that daddy would take care of me when he got home. I was so afraid to face him. Finally, he arrived after a hard day at work, and mom explained what had happened. He took me to the room where the window was broken and sat me on his lap. He talked to me for a moment as I cried, and then he told me not to let such a thing happen again. He told my mom that I had suffered enough during the day while I was waiting for him; he didn’t need to punish me more.
Daddy supported his family. Until he had a massive heart attack at the young age of 48, he was the sole bread winner in our home. A normal schedule had him working six days a week on construction projects, and at night he reviewed blueprints and made plans. As my brothers grew old enough, he took them to work with him and taught them the trade. He worked with mom to put in a huge garden each spring, assuring that we would have fresh vegetables in the summer and plenty to preserve for the winter months. I know now that finances were often tight for my parents, but I never felt poor. We had enough to eat, a home, clothes to wear, and plenty of love to go around
I remember best the few years after he had the first heart attack. For the first time in my memory, he worked what most people consider a regular five-day work week. He had vacation time and heath insurance. He drove me to school many mornings, and I would meet him at work in the afternoons. On Saturdays, he drove me to my job and then picked me up at the end of the day. When I had a night class at the college, he drove me. He didn’t want me on the road by myself at night. These times provided time to talk, and they let me get to know him a little better.
Daddy wasn’t demonstrative. He didn’t leave me a legacy of words spoken so much as a life lived. He gave advice, but it was concise and to the point. Things like “‘they say’ is the biggest liar in the world”, or “I can’t leave you a lot of money, but I have given you a good name. What you do with it is up to you”. He lived by the simple timeless principles of honesty, faithfulness, hard work, loyalty, and right. He loved God, and he treated others the way he wanted to be treated. He stayed the course; he kept the faith.
I am blessed to have had this man in my life for 19 years before God took him home. His steady and faithful life provided a strong foundation for faith and work. When he died, he left me with a refuge in God and faith to grow. I hope I have made him proud.
Ephesians 6:4 – And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Hebrews 12:9 – Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?