My father. A good man.
I hope he’s proud of what he sees in me. The best in me – after all – comes from my both my parents, and I must attribute that quieter, more contemplative side I have, to my father.
What could I possibly say on a day like this, celebrating the man who raised me from when I was but a wee babby? It’s a curious question, and one I’m just going to have to go for, seeing where thoughts take me. Consider this my stream of consciousness henceforth.
I remember clambering atop this ropes course, back in 2012, looking down from the great heights, swinging precariously between two horizontal beams: a section of the giant’s ladder at Camp Friedlander. Vaguely I heard my dad encouraging me, praising the speed with which I had achieved the last gap, and telling me to continue that same swiftness to gain the peak. Well, that kept me invigorated, even when my legs felt leaden as I tried to lift them, straddle the beam, and spin upward.
I liken that to the everyday encouragement I receive from him, if regarding less physically taxing actions. He’s seen me through the best of times, and the worst of times. I remember not even a year ago, feeling discouraged during my driving practice sessions, and how he would wave aside the many mistakes I made (which could have injured either of us, truth be told), simply telling me to continue until I got it. He has a very forward looking mentality, that, while not confined to the future, keeps that endgame in mind.
My Eagle Scout, my Freedom Award, my Religious Emblem, my Black Belt, my joining the P&G Resident Scholar Program, my going to Cincinnati State, my being a part of St. Gertrude HSYM. With many “my’s”, sometimes I forget the source, the man who pushed me on towards them and kept me moving to achieve all these different life’s adventures.
Everything that he has done is truly for my embetterment, and my debt of gratitude to him is greater than I could possibly imagine.
I remember this one other specific time where we had perhaps the most difficult heart to heart ever (and yeah, my eyes are kind of tearing up as I remember it), and as we talked, there was that ever present fear that he would explode at me, but instead he just listened, and when I had finished, he spoke, showing great compassion, mercy, all things loving unto me. I felt unworthy of it, that’s for sure, but he was there for me during that trial. His contribution to that healing process was instrumental, and without him, I doubt I could have made it.
There are plenty of hurts and joys I talk with him about now, but that really was the catalyst, the beginning. From great pain came a chance for greater closeness. I always felt more like a stranger to my father before that point, and now I get to look back and realize how much changed on that dark night.
He was there for me from the beginning, and without him, the man I am today could never be. I may not think myself a good man on most occasions, but whatever good virtues there are in me came from him and my mother, which obviously were gifted them by God Himself.
I fear a lot of times that I miss a lot of opportunities with him, either by exhaustion that puts me to sleep in the car while he’s driving, sacrificing that extra sleep so that I can get to school or work rested enough to make it through the day; the times I’m just sitting, frozen in front of my computer screen, my attention occupied by some cool new trailer or tv show; or just when I’m off doing my own thing in college or wherever.
I never meant for this to turn out so somber, but really, it is a grim reality that one day I will have to face everything without my father, the man who first taught me what it even meant to be a man; the one who taught me a respect for others, especially women; the man who taught me to love the outdoors, the thrill of adventure; the man who taught me to cherish every moment, every opportunity that comes my way, keeping those doors open and standing ready; the man who taught me to lead by example by his example; the man who has prepared and still is preparing me to fulfill my purpose: live life, and live it abundantly.
Thanks, Dad. And Happy Father’s Day.