It has been one month…and still does not fully feel real. I originally posted this to my Tumblr.
I found out this week that my Dad’s favorite Bible Verse is Micah 6:8.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
I did not know this until last Wednesday. But it is not really a surprise.
My dad is a gentle man. Not a gentleman, which can be mere shallow politeness. But a gentle man. He is a man who will listen to your view point, and if he chooses to voice an opinion at all, he does not take a condescending tone if he disagrees. He politely offers his take. If he is ever exasperated? I never see it. I wish I had that kind of patience. I all to often find people frustrating. But not Dad.
Dad is center right and a Christian. Yet, he has never been forceful. He does not preach down to people. Heck, he can sometimes only say a couple words and never bring up God.
But my Dad loves to help people. If you need help? His hand will reach out. At 72, my Dad is vibrant and loved people. I could bring any person reading this to meet my Dad, and he would care about you. He would listen when you need it. He would cry with you when you need it. He would smile and laugh with you when you need it.
My Dad is not a saint of course. I mean, if you are an inanimate object, he can hurl an unending stream of obscenities at you when you frustrate him. Think of the dad in a Christmas story. But using Christian vernacular…I have not known many men who embody all of the Fruits of the Spirit. But my Dad sure comes close. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control…those really apply to my Dad.
I am speaking in the present tense…but on Wednesday, April 15th, I got the worst text message I think I may ever get. My Mother sent a text (because she could not reach me by phone while I was on the phone at work) asking me to come home…Dad had passed away. On the previous Friday he had a medical checkup and was told he was in great shape. On that Tuesday, our family got together to celebrate my Mom’s birthday (which is the 15th). My Dad gave no indication of feeling ill. He went to sleep…and never woke up. According to the people who visited from the Cremation Society only 6% of people die at home…and only 3% die as peacefully as my Dad appears to have.
Truth is, we really thought Mom would be going first. Mom has stage four cancer, and we all thought I was moving in to be with Dad when she passed. But to all of our surprise? It is Dad that is gone today.
It is weird, the things that make me think of Dad. Star Wars. It is the first movie I can remember him taking me to. The Rock…Dad and I really like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Neither of us figured out quite what it was, but we do know we liked him. And I had hoped to see San Andreas with Dad.
My Mom emphasized his faith was what made him the amazing guy he was. I do not doubt this. My Dad’s faith was utterly sincere and heartfelt. I do not really share it. I confess, right now, the idea of there being a God who loves us and set a place aside for us to all come together after we die is appealing. Because I would like to see my Dad again.
A lot of people have been telling us how my Dad encouraged them as Christians. But I learned something larger. I learned what it was to be a great human. And I just do not live up to being the same man my Dad was. but this is one thing I know…I was blessed to have a great Dad. And I am going to miss him.