I’ve long ago discovered the truth of the old adage: The older I get, the wiser my father becomes.
January 15, 2015 would have been my father’s 102nd birthday. January 9 was the fifteenth anniversary of his death.
I’m immensely blessed to be able to say I have few, if any, regrets about what was said or left unsaid between us. Dad well knew how much I loved and respected him.
But there are a few things I’d really like to tell him again. Once again, I’d like to say, thank you, Dad, for always giving exactly the wisdom and the love that I needed even when I was too young, inexperienced, and immature to know how very young, inexperienced, and immature I really was. If I could, I’d say once again . . .
Thank you, Dad, for all the precious gifts you’ve given.
Thank you for faithfully loving my mother.
Thank you for faithfully loving God’s people, Christ’s church.
Thank you for loving God himself with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Thank you for the fact that your love of the Father colored beautifully every other love of your life.
Thank you, my earthly father, for your love which made it so easy to believe in the love of the Heavenly Father.
Yes, and I’m seeing, oh, so clearly, Dad, how that heavenly love means fulfilling very practical earthly obligations and duties.
I learned long ago whose name goes on that blank on so many medical and college and loan forms where it says simply, “Responsible Party.” Being “responsible” is not easy, which largely explains why so many fathers today fail to be. You shouldered the load. Thank you.
You knew what it’s like to be the one charged with picking up the pieces when the car breaks, the dog bites, the bill’s due, or the wheels come off in so many ways.
You knew all about paying to fix crooked teeth, saying a few words over the grave of a family pet, loving all your children but giving extra love at a particular moment to the child who particularly needs it most.
You knew when loving well meant “picking up the pieces” and when loving wisely meant expecting me to learn to clean up my own mess.
You were the strongest man I have ever known in all the ways that count, strong enough to be truly gentle.
You were the kindest man I have ever known, merciful even when those around you were being unfair and unmerciful.
You were big enough, wise enough, Christ-like enough to know when to laugh and when to cry (unashamed of laughter or of tears), when to direct and when to discipline, when to speak and when to listen, when to wait and see, and when to wrap up a child in a father’s embrace.
I’d give a lot for your embrace right now, Dad. Just a hug from the man whose gracious life and whose unfailing love has given life to me, and to mine, and opened my heart to love.
So, Dad, I just wanted to say once more, thank you. And may the Father of us all give wings to this “thank you” and whisper in your ear once more my thanks for the gifts and the love you have given me, your son.
You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!
Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.