To my Father,
As I write this you’re dealing with a headache while watching the Tigers suck at Baseball. It’s July 24th, 2015 and I’m only telling you all of this in case you get old one day and forget about me. (lolz)
In all honesty I only did that because I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start. Not because there’s a lack of memories to start with but rather due to the fact that there are so many. How can I possibly portray your worth to me in finite words on a measly blog post? The only way I can think of is by taking a stroll down memory lane. Shall we, compadre?
You and mom certainly didn’t waste any time poppin’ out the babies. Y’all were married in January and I was being held in your arms, (probably) screaming my heart out twelve months later. I certainly don’t remember any of this but I know that it must have been crazy/stressful/amazing all at the same time. For the next several years you put up with my babbling, poopy pants, and slobbering messes (some things haven’t changed). If I remember correctly it was at this time you also started Bible College. My earliest memory comes from living on campus at Spurgeon. You worked tirelessly to gain a degree, work a full time job, and raise new babies. You were everything a kid could’ve asked for.
Growing up I always wanted to make you proud. I fell in love with the things that you loved and wanted to be at your side every second that I could. You loved baseball so I started to love baseball. I can assure you that I still remember trying to learn how to play and the many practice sessions in the backyard. You poured a lot of your time into trying to get me to stop swinging the bat like a ballerina. You went as far as putting a step ladder behind me so that every time I stepped out of the box I would bust my tail. Oh, bust my tail I did. But it was in those moments I learned how to never step away from facing the ball. Yeah, it was scary…I didn’t want to get hit (which I still did) but you taught me that it shouldn’t keep me from playing the game. You came to every little league game you could and for a lot of them you were my coach. I remember being so proud to be able to call you dad and coach…Even if I sat the bench ;). All I wanted was to make you proud and playing baseball with you is one of the easiest memories to recall that I have.
In fact, some of the best recollections of my life are with you. Remember our trip to Niagra Falls, Cooperstown, Canada, and Detroit? Three and a half weeks of man-time. Nothing between us but some twizzlers and wide open road. Except for the part where Canada thought you were trying to steal me because we had no form of passport or ID. I sincerely thought I was going to be stuck in Canada forever because they didn’t believe you were my dad. Then when we finally got in to Canada we almost got our car searched because of a Saw in the trunk of the van. Churches always did give us the strangest gifts…Speaking of church…
I’ve been preaching the Bible for about ten years now. Would you like to know who helped me study for my very first sermon? Yep! You did! I was so fascinated by the way you preached, the way you studied, and the way you handled a church. I loved watching you work with a youth group and plan activities. Growing up in a pastor’s home wasn’t always easy but it was here that I fostered a love for God and for His people. It was unbelievably nerve wracking to preach in front of you but I always knew you had my back (Remember that one time I said “crap” in one of my sermons? Oops…). I can’t portray to you how much I respect you and admire you for the way you did your job. You never viewed it as just a job because the people were worth so much more to you. In the incredibly heart wrenching times you never gave in. You never quit even though everything around you screamed for you to do so. You showed incredible passion for the people of God even when those people didn’t necessarily act that way. It was here that I learned about resiliency, love, and commitment.
I never have been perfect and I made a lot of mistakes growing up. Some minor ones and some major ones. You were always there to correct me when I did so. Yes, it was painful to hear you “get on to me”. Yes, it was painful to experience punishment from you and mom but not because of what you may think. It was hard because I knew I had let you down. I knew that you were disappointed in me and that crushed me. I always wanted to be better and do better because you were my dad..So I tried. I pushed myself to become the man God called me to be and the one you would be proud of. You always pointed me towards the Lord in every area of my life whether good or bad. You, as a living example, showed me what it meant (And means) to be a man of God. I want(ed) to be just like you.
It was when I fell into depression that I thought I didn’t need you anymore. In fact, during those very dark times I was under the belief that I didn’t need anyone because I thought that no one cared. We didn’t get along very well throughout 2012. I was a very angry person and it turns out you were going through a lot of the same things that I was. Through it all I just fell into the lie that you had lost all hope in me. The devil grabbed a hold of my heart and told me that I could do life without you. Yeah, the devil was wrong (It’s about this time in my testimony that I always break down in tears). I was so deep in anger that I wanted to die. It was only the grace of God that spurred me on to speaking with you about what I was going through. It was this that the Lord used to bring us back together. You told me and showed me what forgiveness looked like even when hatred seemed to be the best option. You showed me the grace of God in my mistakes and it was here that I found my best friend.
It seems as though life has been a blur since then. I’m 22 years old now, a senior in Bible college, and looking to follow in your ministerial footsteps. Even though I think I’m an independent man now I will always need you. If I could ever be half the man you are I would be eternally grateful. I want to be the husband you are to mom, I want to be the pastor you are to God’s people, and I want to be the dad you are to your children. I want to be just like you.
You will forever be my coach, my pastor, my teacher, and my Dad. But most importantly you will always be my best friend.
I love you more than my own life and I am forever proud to call you my Father.
Your firstborn (bestest) Son,