Sunday, June 18, 2006

IT TAKES A REAL MAN TO BE A DAD

I visited my father today. It's something that I'm happy to be able to do, since we only live an hour apart. I'm not naive enough to think it will always be that way, since neither of us has been known to stick to one town for very long. Already this year both of us have contemplated career moves which would take us to different cities. But for now, we have this, and I was happy to spend his Father's Day with him.

Shopping for Dad's gift wasn't easy. It's hard to get something for a guy who is one of the least materialistic people that I know. I could get him a gift card, but he'd never spend it on himself. It would either stay in his back pocket forever, or he'd use it to buy something...ugh...PRACTICAL. That's just the way it is. Finally I settled on getting him a TV show on DVD, The A-Team, that we'd watched together when I was a child.

None of it seemed an adequate way for me to express the appreciation I feel for the man. How do you encapsulate gratitude for the years and years of teaching what is right--how to be a good solid man, how to work hard, and how to conduct oneself--into one pitiful little Father's Day gift? It's just not possible. To even begin to re-gift everything he has given me in my lifetime would require more than I could ever muster. If I worked the rest of my life, I'd never be even with him.

My Dad and I weren't always best buddies. We went through the hard times. Thank God that finally my Dad's words were finally able to penetrate my thick skull and get me back on the right path. These last few years have probably drawn us closer than ever, and our relationship has grown from being father and son into also being best friends. From our trips out to the old air base where he was stationed to taking in Memphis Redbirds games to just sitting around the house, we have fun together, enjoy talking, and enjoy each other's presence, even though our schedules don't allow us as much time as we'd like.

I look to him for so many examples too. I look at the way he cares for my Mom, and I know that if and when I get married that I will treat the woman in my life the exact same way he treats her--with dignity, respect, admiration, and such undying love. I look at him to see how to be a respectable, upright, and Godly man. I don't pretend he's perfect, but I know how hard he tries. Overall, he's just the type of man I'd be happy to become: a hard worker, a loving husband, a good father, and a respected man.

It's because of him that I also know how to relate to God, the ultimate Father. When the Bible refers to God as the Father, I have a good image of what that means because of my father on Earth. I know that it means that God will always love me, care for me, and accept me back when I do the wrong thing, because God is my Father, and my Dad has shown me what that's all about. Without my Dad's example, I don't think I'd even be able to fathom the concept.

I got an email from Dad the other day, out of the blue. It said this:

A man needs a best friend that he can share with, that he can enjoy being with, that he can feel totally comfortable around and that he can look up to with great respect. It is a great feeling to have someone to fit that bill.

It is especially wonderful when that best friend is one's own son who has grown into a fine young man.

I love you Son/Friend
Dad


I told him afterwards that it was no fair of him to make me cry at work. What am I saying...crying NOW. Because after all these years, after all my bull-headedness, rebellion, and independence, I am so happy that I can have a father and a best friend like this.

I hope someday, if and when I have a son of my own, that I can be half of what my Dad is. Maybe one day I'll have the chance to give this gift to my own child. Until then, I'll be in training, watching this great man do what he does best.

I love you, Dad!

7 Comments:

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

J.D. - Thanks for this post on "Fathers" - you said it so well which, in itself is a GREAT tribute to your father!! I read your blog from time to time, having 'come over' from the AI blogs. Keep up the great work!
Smarin2654

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

I hope your dad sees this - beautifully done. Your parents did good. :)

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Ali said...

How beautiful J.D.! Thank you for sharing this!

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Bathroom Hippo said...


Wish I had a dad.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

oh my, that email from your dad is just wonderful!

 
At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Jordan said...

Yeah, your dad should see this, JD, if he hasn't already.

 
At 11:26 PM, Blogger Jacob said...

You know I'm a fan of the blog, but man, I loved this. I've been thinking about this stuff a lot lately, so it was really touching to read your comments.

 

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