Celebrating Father’s Day in America this weekend, here’s another go at last year’s post…
Although it’s been several years since Papa passed, there’s still a crater-sized hole in my heart. I don’t think that hole will ever get smaller because Papa loomed so large in my life. Center-stage with Mama, the two of them cheered me on with their love to do and be – whatever, whenever, wherever.
Their deep love anchored this red head through good times and turbulent times: always there, a constant port in any storm.
Papa cherished me (& my 4 siblings) through our growing pains in childhood, the onset of adulthood, and as we muddled our way into middle-age-hood. He would say, “You are beautiful!” (Growing up with a pimply face & skinny legs, really Papa?)
He pushed us to pursue our dreams. He supported us. He made time for us.
Growing up in a boisterous family with five kids, sometimes it was hard for my younger brother and me to get a word in edge-wise. Papa made space for us to speak through daily ‘round table’ dinner discussions where we each shared the highlights (or challenges) of our days.
He spent time with us. He took Section B (as we’re called, the three oldest = Section A) on monthly dates for dinner and every Walt Disney movie that came out. (There were many.) When we were a little older it was John Wayne westerns. (There were many of those, too!)
As I grew up these fun outings morphed into more serious encounters – a time set aside to seek his wise counsel and share worries, debacles, hopes and (ever changing) dreams.
An important part of cherishing is encouragement. Papa encouraged me to seek, to speak, to do, to be all that I was, and am, meant to be as his beloved daughter and precious daughter of God, our Heavenly Father.
When I moved away from home to work in Washington, D.C. and then overseas for many years, Papa & Mama called every week, faxed and emailed (as technology evolved.) They were always there for me. Even when several oceans separated us, I knew they had my back in prayer (their heavenly-hotline buzzing as I dodged bullets, stones, landmines and endured malaria, fractured ankles et all.)
Papa always said, “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”
God dished out grace in many ways, in many places. But a big chunk of ‘hang-in-there-grace’ came through Papa and Mama. Despite incredible challenges, their example of faithfulness – to God, to each other, to us, to ministry – inspired me in hard places to keep going.
The will of God has now taken me to this place of being father-less on Father’s Day. I pray for God’s grace to keep me when my heart misses Papa. Lots!
I miss his larger-than-life presence, his love, encouragement, cherishment, the twinkle in his eyes, his sense of humor, his joy (even when as a bedfast quadriplegic he couldn’t move anything.) His zeal for life. His faith in God, and his faith in me.
Cherished. Adored. Loved. All three, a gift from my father to me.
There is a crater-sized hole in my heart and life, but it’s filled with the legacy of Papa’s love: the love of Jesus in and through him to me. Thank you, Papa! We miss you!!
A blessed Father’s Day to you fathers out there. Treasure the moments.
Cherish, adore, love: see what your children become.
Virginia : )