Of all of the posts that will be published today, I believe that mine will be the best.
Bold statement. What makes me think so?
Because it’s about my Dad.
I recognize that it’s becoming increasingly cliche in our technologically driven world to merely post sappy pictures and statuses on days such as these. Most individuals resort to a few paragraphs a year describing how amazing said person is but never take the time to tell them face to face. It kind of sucks, to be honest.
I believe it’s a terrible way to reflect love and appreciation. It’s shallow, easy; yet, here I am.
In my defense, I plan on calling my Father today and telling him how much I love him and appreciate him. I suppose this is my version of “the cherry on the top.” Written words come naturally to me and I can better express my heart in writing than I can do in spoken word. I stutter, lose my thoughts, but here I have free reign. So, Dad, here we go.
I won’t mention his name, he knows who he is, but he was married in the early 90’s and became a father a short year later. From that point on, three other babies were born at what seemed like breakneck speed. My parents had hit their five year anniversary with four small, precious newborns to care for.
I was the best and cutest. Crazy, right?
Well, let me add…
At the time, my dad had just begun pursuing his collegiate degree. Mhm. Four new babies, a wife, and a full-time college education.
But wait! There’s more!
He was working a full-time job to support us all.
What I’m really trying to say is that my dad had to have been Superman. I think I just sprouted another gray hair thinking about all of that stress.
He and my mom pulled it off, though. He graduated college, moved into his vocation of choice, and continued being a faithful dad/husband.
Growing up, my dad was, quite literally, everything to me. Dad, pastor, friend, judge, jury, executioner (lol), coach, healer of bruises, motivator, etc…The list goes on. He was the man I looked up to. He pushed me to be better, which meant being tough on me. I didn’t appreciate it then, but time and maturity have a way of showing you that it was good.
Dad was a high school baseball player, pretty good at it too. Nothing ever came of it post-graduation, except for his undying, constantly-frustrated love for the Tigers. Oh, and the newly born passion of an always watching son.
Baseball became our thing. I started playing little league baseball when I was around six; and when I say that I played, I mean I sat the bench. I was terrible…and bored. Most of my tenure in the outfield, when I did get playing time, was spent tearing up grass, kicking dirt, and avoiding anything that happened to make it out to me.
Did I mention I had the tendency to swing the bat as if I were a ballerina?
Dad, I’m sure, hated seeing his firstborn son makin’ a fool of himself on the diamond. He took me to the backyard and we practiced with a ladder behind me. Anytime I tried to swing like a ballerina and step out of the “box”, my rear met the steel beam down below.
Painful, but effective. I started staying in the box and swinging the bat like a real ball player; still sat the bench, though.
A few years later, I backed out of Baseball because I saw a buddy get cracked in the eye by a fastball. It didn’t take much to convince me that I wanted no part of that kind of pain. I’m sure my Dad was disappointed, but I don’t remember him not being supportive.
I watched him at work. He was passionate, willing to grow, learn, and follow God. He made special efforts to take me to breakfast in the mornings before school and talk about the Bible with me. He prayed with me and for me. He did the same with my mom and my sisters. He cared about us and wanted nothing but the best.
One of my favorite memories we share was a three week Northeast road trip. We went to Detroit, Niagra Falls, Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame), and trekked across Canada. Said detour through Canada is worth a blog post of its own. Suffice it to say that the Canadians thought he was kidnapping me. I’ll write about it sometime.
Another favorite memory was looking up into the stands of the baseball/football field during my high school athletic “career.” He was there most every game, if not all of them. I loved being able to look up at my dad right after I had been knocked into oblivion. It was a way to remind myself that he was watching and that the concussion I was suffering from wasn’t making me hallucinate.
Of all of the things that I remember, one memory I will never forget.
Depression struck in 2012. I was a miserable soul and at odds with everyone I loved. To make a long story short, there was a breaking point for me, and my dad was there to pick up the pieces. He was with me through some of the hardest moments of my life. He listened to every struggle, every question, every complaint, and every joy that I had ever had. He was there and he helped me through it all. My dad kept me from the jaws of my depression.
And he still does.
The reason I write this from my perspective is intentional. Here’s why:
Dad, I know there are times when you feel insufficient as a father. I know there are times when you feel as if you have failed us. I know there are times when you feel that you are unlovable. While I can’t take those feelings away, I can remind you that none of it is true.
Take it from a 24-year-old man who still looks at you like he did when the Tigers won the AL championship off of a walk-off home run from Magglio Ordonez. Take it from a wide-eyed little boy who saw his dad chase his dreams and include his son in them. Take it from a terrified pre-teen who thought he was going to die on Gemini at Cedar Point the first time he ever rode a roller coaster.
Take it from me when I say that you are more than enough.
I didn’t have a choice as to what father I was going to get, but I would never have been able to choose anyone better. You are a man of God, a faithful husband, and a loving father. There isn’t anything better than that.
You are the man I’ve always looked up to, and I would consider it a blessing from God if I ever turned into half the man that you are.
Dad, I love you. Happy Father’s Day.
I know that today is difficult for many of you. Difficult in ways that I can never imagine. For those of you that this applies to, my heart breaks for you. I know that you may not want my sympathy or any others, but I lend you my love and support. This blog is a place of refuge, one that recognizes and sympathizes with your pain. You are not alone.
I know for a fact that the man I just spoke of would tell you the same thing I am about to share.
On a day such as this, you may have been left void of all hope of there ever being a faithful man to love you as a father should. I can say, with full assurance, that there is a heavenly Father who sees you, loves you, and desires to know you. He is perfect and knows what is best for you, and that is himself. If you know Him and believe His love, I pray you find comfort in His peace. If you do not, I pray that today would be the day that you trust in the sacrifice he made for you: Sending His only Son to die for our sins so that we could be saved.
Please, questions and conversation are welcome. Feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are loved.
You are valued.