Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

We have been staying with my parent's to recuperate after the loss of our house while we begin to establish a new financial foundation and recover from the hurt. So I have been fortunate to spend every day with my father. Still, this Father's Day was especially dear to me.

My father has been an addict of some kind off and on for most of my life. In recent years beer (lots of it) was his drug of choice. But, he quit drinking before Christmas. Six months and at least 50 pounds lighter later, he is like a new person. He has a fresh perspective on life, a deeper desire to be a better person, and to be a healthier person too. I am proud of all he has overcome in recent months. I am even more proud to see the man he has become.

That thing I have always needed from both my parent's always seemed just a bit off in the distance. Even though the transition to settling into my parent's home again has been emotional it certainly isn't due to the people they are. It's been tough to leave my Independence and return home. I am so grateful that they have received us with open arms and are willing to do everything in their power to encourage and support us. That which has always been slightly in the distance has settled right before me. I have a deeper connection with my parent's and more respect for them than ever before. All they each want in life is to see their children and grandchildren grow into self-sufficient, joyful people who enjoy life and their families. I have found both my mother and father in a place where they enjoy being near us, they enjoy our company and the company of their grandchildren. They enjoy life. I enjoy sharing it with them.

It was a wonderful thing to stand beside my father at church this Sunday, eyes closed, hands up praising my Jesus with the echo of my father's voice next to me. I am thankful my parent's are still in love. I am thankful to have had them both raise me. I am thankful my mother quit smoking as well and her healthier is no longer at such a great risk. I am grateful that through weight loss and the abandonment of an addiction my father no longer needs medication for his body to function properly. I am thankful for my precious parent's, they are a gift that not all of us get to enjoy in our lives.

I took my father's presence in my life for granted in previous days and years. We take for granted just how precious our time with each other is here on earth. I should have learned that lesson after the loss of Todd's cousin Lana.

It took Todd's perspective on Father's Day to remind me. After church Todd and I discussed whether he should call his father or not. Todd felt torn because he wanted to call his father, the man that contributed to his existence out of respect. Lonn is his father but at the same time didn't want to crack the door too far open. Todd isn't ready to let down all the walls yet; understandably so.

Todd's parent's were married eleven years but Lonn left their family when Todd was a young boy. For a few years Todd and his sister visited their father in California for a week out of each year and nothing more. My mother-in-law worked hard and sacrificed much to support herself and her two children and save a foreclosing mortgage. That she certainly did in an amazingly graceful manner as well.

Todd told me that in his morning prayer he also wished God a Happy Father's Day for filling the gap; the void. For being his heavenly father in place of his absent earthly father. I can't even fathom.

In the end I encouraged Todd to call his father. It is because of Lonn that Todd is the man he is today. Whether he played a positive or negative role in his life. Present or absent, the decisions Lonn made in his life shaped how Todd was raised and shaped Todd into the man he is today. It is why Todd holds so tightly onto me and our children. It is the reason the fire in his heart exists to be the best possible father he can be. And, a truly wonderful father he is. Todd's earthly father wasn't present in his childhood but Todd had the best possible example of love and self-sacrifice, Jesus himself. "Call him, not for the father he was in your childhood but for the father he is trying to be in the present. As a child, he was not present in your life. But, now he offers his love, seeks forgiveness, and provides Godly advice and encouragement. Call him, not for the man he used to be but because of the man he has become since he let Jesus into his heart."

I don't have many men in my life but those I do each hold their own set of keys to my heart; my loving husband Todd who falls more madly in love each day, my tender-spirited father whose soft spot for me gets larger daily, and my only son Tyler who has the best example of the kind of man and father a boy should become. I cannot wait to see the husband and father he will blossom into. I love all my guys and I thank God everyday for you. Todd, if only you felt half as blessed this Father's Day as you make us feel everyday!

2 drops of sunshine:

Wendi said...

So woderful to have loving parents...imperfections and all. I get it. How great to see your heart.

hubby said...

all the words in the world could not explain how I feel about are such a breath of fresh air in your writing. You are such an amazing women...I better get your first signature!