Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Dad!

I wish all of you could have known my dad. Yesterday was his birthday, he would have been 61 years old. He would have looked distinguished in his salt and pepper hair and comforting smile. He and mom were one in a million and they would have celebrated 39 years of marriage tomorrow the 28th. Man I miss them at times, especially this week.

When I was 23 and thinking about answering the call to ministry my dad pulled me aside and said, "Son, if there is anything else you can do with your life, do it. Ministry is a very difficult path. But, if there is nothing else you can do with your life but serve God, then take the step in ministry." Dad was right, there is nothing else I would rather do with my life! The rewards far outweigh the difficulties and daily I count on every promise God has made to me.

My dad had a way about him. He lived honestly. He told me often, "Son, if you tell the truth you will not get punished." I never lied to my dad one time. There was a time when I was 18, I got three speeding tickets inside of 3 months. I told my mom, and asked her not to tell my dad. She gave me thirty days to come clean, reminding me on the 29th day. When I went to dad he said, "Why are you so afraid to tell me?" I said, "Because I didn't want to disappoint you." He looked puzzled and said, "You can never disappoint me." If my dad were preaching on Sunday he would say this, "Do anything, but don't do disappointed."

My dad was generous. When I was going into the 7th grade leather Nike's were the cool shoes. All my friends had them and I hoped to get a pair for school. My family was in a bad way financially because my dad was really sick. He didn't work much because of his illness and mom worked two jobs. I remember going to JC Penny at the Everett Mall and showing mom the leather Nike's. She said, "Son, we have to get other things this year also?" I lamented, "It's OK mom, these will do" picking up the cloth Nike's, that were half the price. When we got home mom told dad what I had done. Before the night ended dad drove to the mall himself returning my cloth Nike's and purchasing me the leather ones. He was so kind and generous. It wasn't like I was discontent with what mom had bought. In fact, I knew we were under pressure financially, so I was ready to do my part, but my dad would have nothing of it. I found out years later that he gave up his Saturday to build someone an outhouse so I could have leather Nike shoes. An outhouse, are you kidding me?

Thank you dad. Thank you for the example, I'm still pursuing my best. Thank you for the hugs, I can still feel them at times. Thank you for the encouragement, I hope to be the same to another. Thank you for teaching me to play, I'm pretty sure you'd be proud. Thank you for not being a copy, you made me original.

You are my example, friend, mentor, pastor, encourager and most of all my mountain top. When someone says, "Jeff, I see a lot of your dad in you," that is the best compliment of all.

Next week Wednesday the 31st, 4:36 pm PST, will be exactly 7 years since my friend Rory called us and said those terrible words, "I don't want to alarm you, but a plane has crashed returning from Mexico." I will post more on the day that changed my life, so check back.