It’s Father’s Day in America – a day we celebrate & honor our fathers by making special meals, playing golf, watching his sport-of-choice, watching movies (shoot-em-ups a manly favorite), giving presents (shirts, socks & maybe something more?) All different ways we appreciate our dads.
Being a dad may not be quite as hard as being a mom (this just in from my Papa discussing fatherhood over lunch.) Seriously, moms endure very painful stuff in the delivery phase, but beyond that there’s even more hard stuff. (Papa said, “I’ll never forget the first time our first baby cried. As a stick-in-the mud bachelor I never had my sleep interrupted. But your mother, she looked after the baby & took care of those things.”)
Maybe Papa didn’t endure the pain of the birth canal 5 times like Mama, but I’m sure his heart was painfully pummeled at times when the five of us passed through the terrible twos, teenage terribles & into life beyond.
I am so grateful to God for my Papa: REALLY GRATEFUL. It’s not just that he was always there for us (even when he was very busy), but his love was (& is) always a sure thing (even when we mess up!)
Growing up he placed a big sign downstairs: “God loves you Anyway.” Then at the top of the stairs (especially prominent as when past our curfew we tiptoed by their bedroom door): “I love you Anyway.”
Papa’s love demonstrated the love of God in him for us – agape style. Sure, Papa & Mama were strict (weekend curfews, no TV on school nights & Papa had to meet my dates before going out. What a way to get dates: ‘you must ask my father.’) But, ya know what, PAPA CARED ABOUT ME. And hey, ya know what? When crushed by the latest crisis (in High School there were many) Papa’s shoulder was there to cry on as he let the Love of Jesus flow through him to us. He also ‘arranged’ a hunky prom date when my (not-no-nice) friend asked the boy of my dreams from another school to our dance (she dialed his # faster!!! grrrr…)
My Papa-picked date was a blast (of course, that’s all in the past), but Papa’s love cared then as his love cares now.
Papa made TIME for us. The 7 of us were quite a rowdy bunch together, so he made ‘dates’ with us –when we were little he took my younger brother & I out on weekends for dinner & a movie (every Walt Disney ever made) that carried into serious discuss-life-choice-sessions as we got older.
Papa had FAITH in God that extended to us. He believed in us (You are so beautiful – even when we had pimples. You can do anything you set your mind to) & he affirmed us, even when it meant his kid taking up a post across the ocean in a conflict zone.
(Sometimes affirmation had to be coaxed, like when he went to every single basketball game my older brother played & then he didn’t quite get it that he needed to come to all my football games when I started cheerleading in Williamsburg. But he came!) 🙂
Papa also has COURAGE, a key characteristic he has passed on to us. Courage of his convictions, his faith & love in Jesus. Courage to help us help ourselves by giving us the straight skinny. Courage to face life’s challenges – like loss of mobility & abilities that put him in a wheelchair in 1985 before becoming a completely bedfast quadriplegic 12 years age. Courage to say: “I can’t, but HE can”… & then to let God do through him (in so many amazing ways.) Courage to be thankful, really thankful each morning for ‘the blessings that outweigh his challenges.’
The courage to BE GLAD to be our Dad (even when we’re unruly & sad : )
It’s Father’s Day & we’re so glad to have our Dad!!
THANK YOU PAPA FOR ALL YOU DO – ALL YOU ARE – & HAVE BEEN, TOO.
Grace, peace & Courageous Papas
Virginia : )