Our family just returned from a four-day escape to cool ocean breezes ruffling our hair and the sounds of the rhythmic, gently splashing surf massaging away stress-strung muscles. As we drove along the coast, I found myself recounting stories to my young men of how my Father would cram our extended family–an aunt, uncle, and at least one cousin–into our family car and drive 150 miles from our home to San Diego. Those precious memories painted warm colored pictures of laughter, family escapades around a picnic table, and playing “the first one to talk is a rotten egg” with my cousin in the back seat. The game inevitably melted into ripples of continuous giggles with no quiet for the adults.
My father loved to travel–even if it was just a Sunday drive. He passed that love for adventure on to me.
As I continued to reminisce out loud, I recalled the Sunday mornings after Church when we would meet my cousin and bring him to our home for my Father’s traditional sausage patties and eggs breakfast. Frequently, on the way home, we stopped by a local bakery that had a picture window through which the customers could view the bakers whipping up that day’s pastries or piping the frosting in draped ribbons and roses on some fortunate bride’s wedding cake. We drooled, not for what we saw, but for the fresh sesame seed rolls my father had just purchased in the white paper bag.
The sweetest memories are the simple ones piled high with family warmth and laughter. Moments of the everyday. The picture he had taped inside his tool box. The photo that captured a proud Father with his only daughter–only child–at the high school Father/Daughter dance. My report cards that traveled from home to the hands of his coworkers. The smell of sausage and peppers cooking in the cast-iron skillet. And the cubed potatoes that he would then fry, setting out hot samples for me to feast on.
My Father’s well-worn hands knew the gentle touch, whether giving an encouraging hug or carefully stringing tinsel on his prize-picked silver-tipped Christmas tree. I remember those hands often giving change to the tattered man slumped against a downtown building or hopelessly walking the streets.
Was my Father perfect? Is any human perfect? But in that soft light that illuminates the past, the Lord has given us a glimpse through His own eyes of the good He sees.
I had only 16 short years with my Father. In my senior year of high school, my Father passed away from cancer. Way too soon for me. There was so much more of my life to share with him–graduation, college, heartaches, and the man who won my heart.
Recounting those warm, carefree moments while the breeze plays in my hair, is a way for my sons to know their Grandfather and have a model of love on which to build their lives.
“‘Honor your father and mother’–which is the first commandment with a promise–‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:3&4 NIV
High Calling Blogs is presenting a special feature on Fathers this Wednesday, June 16,2010 as we prepare to celebrate our Fathers this Sunday.