Pulling together the right words to adequately honor my father is daunting. I have wrestled with this challenge for three days. I hope I’ve fittingly paid tribute to him. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
In October 2011, I was honored to travel to western Canada to pay tribute to another dad in my life, my Grandpa. The family traveled from all over the US and Canada to memorialize a man I hardly knew. Growing up in the States, my grandparents were thousands of miles away and it was just a handful of times that we got to spend with them. But, I was asked to speak at his service and for once, I was at a sincere loss for words.
To honor these two men in my life, I’ve included excerpts from my service notes below.
Yesterday, as we drove down to the lake, I was reminded of the time Grandpa took me on the back of the four wheeler up there to look for the owl. I’m not sure why Grandpa was so mad at that owl, but he had the shot gun with us. We had barely gotten to the tree line when that owl flew away and he shot the magpie instead. Well, yesterday, as I was driving towards that tree line, an owl flew away; and it was like Grandpa was telling me that he remembered that day too.
Warriors, my dad worked hard. So hard. Like my Grandpa worked the ranch and the land for harvest, my dad started his own car repair business in our single car garage. As a child, I was ignorant of his burning need to provide for his family and there were times I know my parents worried about the source of our next meal. But, I didn’t know it. I always felt safe and secure. I thought my dad could do anything.
I guess that is why I wanted to be near him. I can still see in my mind’s eye the little chair that I would take apart, only to put together again. In the garage. With my dad. Borrowing his screwdriver.
When I was old enough to work, I spent summers at my dad’s shop. Not at the front desk, but out back and working on the cars. Dad knew everything about these cars.
Dad would also humble himself, sometimes to my frustration, with customers. There are always ‘those people’ that would whine and complain about something. My dad would take money out of his own pay check to appease these people. But, he taught me that sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut, even when you know you’re right.
My dad used his business as his place of ministry. I believe this is why God blessed the work of his hands, because Dad honored God with his word and with his deed. Dad’s shop wasn’t surrounded by the best of businesses. Shady deals went down often, but everyone around there respected my dad.
I remember a time when a man who washed cars next door came to my dad for a little monetary help. Dad didn’t hesitate and I’m sure gave knowing he would never see it again.
Dad loved without condition.
My sweet husband worked with my dad. They were big buddies, and still are though miles separate them now.
On the day of Danny’s accident, it was my dad who was first on the scene. Defying the road blocks, he shouted to police ‘that’s my son!’
My sweet father left his business to be at the hospital for weeks with me and with Danny.
Family comes first.
My mother is a blessed woman. Dad loved her above all others. I don’t remember them fighting. I remember them kissing and hugging and grossing us out. I remember him helping her and working with her for our home. I never had one doubt about my parents and their love, their dedication and commitment to one another.
He loves the Lord.
I am blessed that I don’t have to work too hard to understand how great the Father’s love is for me; I just look at my own earthly father and try to imagine something more. It is difficult.
My dad calls me his hero.
But, what he doesn’t understand is that I am a product of him and my mom, just as he is a product of his dad and his mom.
The Word says that ‘Sons are a heritage from the Father’ and Grandpa, Dad and Corbin-you all have created, worked and loved into a glorious heritage.
I know my dad isn’t perfect; no man is. But, I have to tell you, I’m a lucky girl. God paired us perfectly.
He wasn’t afraid to love me enough to not be my friend. He sent back to my room to change into something more appropriate, he pushed bad boyfriends out the door and he took me on dates.
He taught me to change my own flat tires, my own oil and brakes. He gave me the confidence to do anything.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Proverbs 22:1a
You know I’d love to be with you on this day, but I hope you know that in my heart, you are the greatest dad I could have ever dreamed of. I pray that you know how much I love you. I pray that I honor you, and your heritage through my life.
I am proud of my Canadian heritage. I am a proud granddaughter of a great man and even prouder to call his son, his heritage, my father. Thank you, Grandpa, for the love, for the owl, and for your legacy.