I remember as a young kid thinking my father had the easiest job. As a UMC pastor in a Midwest town, I saw him "work" one hour every Sunday preaching to a large room of people. My little brother and I would crawl under the pews after the service as the folks walked out. So easy. As I grew, I came to appreciate that there was much more to my dad than just one hour on Sundays.
Some years ago, my dad made me a broad sword forged out of a single piece of steel. I watched him work with the fire and the red hot metal turning something ordinary into something quite remarkable. He was always reading and writing, digesting and engaging in deep wells of philosophy, religion and history. He was as wise as he was funny.
His last few years were spent with his dear wife living in the great northwest where he could enjoy the snowy winters and rainy cool spring weather. He stayed active working on many small projects and always reading and writing. He and I talked often and one day realized that he could figure out how to FaceTime. I was able to show him some of the projects that I needed his advice on and let him see and talk to his grandkids and his grand dogs.
I knew my dear dad would not last forever, but I guess I always thought there would be one more phone call. One more conversation where he told me to give his love to my family and keep a little for myself.
His life’s journey was a complicated one that drew him close to some and distant from others, but he always held onto his sense of hope and faith in a good and loving God. It is his journey that connected me to my amazing siblings and while not perfect or traditional, made us a family.
if I had one more call, one more chat with him I would say, “thank you dad, for helping make me to be the man I am today. Thank you especially for believing in me when I was unsure and reminding me that hope is not based solely on evidence, but grounded in faith. I will miss you daily, but know you are walking with no pain with your mom and dad on those heavenly streets. And most of all … Thank you for being my dad."