This post is very personal. This is a disclaimer. It is always difficult to decide what to share and what not to share publicly in a blog. Yet, life experiences such as birth and death are common to all of us. If you prefer not to continue reading, that is fine with me. If you do decide to continue, perhaps you will find something you can relate to. In either case, many blessings and peace to you and your loved ones in the coming holiday season.
First Holidays Without Dad
My (Nori’s) dad passed away on June 16th this year, Father’s Day, after suffering a stroke. My dad was a doer. He rarely sat still except to read the newspaper or watch football on TV from his favorite recliner. He worked as a lawyer for many years and then felt drawn to the ministry in his fifties. He wholeheartedly devoted himself to whatever task was before him whether it was settling a court case or leading a flock of believers. In fact, he continued to work as a lawyer throughout his life. He was working on a case in the courthouse law library when he had a major stroke. My dad was 81 years young when he left his earthly body for his heavenly one.
Life Lessons from Dad
As I think of my dad, these are a few of the things I learned from him.
1. Passion: Find something you are passionate about and work wholeheartedly to accomplish your goals. This philosophy applies to work and play. My dad loved the outdoors and nature and was an avid fly fisherman. Although he never taught me to fly fish, I caught my first fish with a worm at age 4 and I learned my love of nature from him. I also gained a life-long love of learning from my dad. He was very proud when I started my doctorate in education. I will be dedicating my dissertation to him when I graduate next year.
2. Persistence: I remember Dad taking me to the school yard after he finished work or on the weekends and having me throw a softball over and over and over again. That was when there was a presidential physical fitness award children could earn by performing at a certain level in running, jumping, strength (pull ups), etc. My weakness was throwing. I don’t remember if I finally met the goal, but I do remember trying my hardest and Dad not letting me give up.
3. Patience: My dad was not always patient himself, but he taught me patience when he would sit me on a rock by the lake with a can of worms and my fishing rod and tell me to stay there while he went fly fishing along the shore. I caught an 18 inch German Brown trout that way. Watching him start a campfire by carefully arranging the pine needles and sticks in a little tent and blowing on them to get the fire started while I sat shivering in the cold also taught me patience.
4. Prayer: After my dad had a near-death experience, he submitted to God’s call to become a minister. My oldest son was about 4 years old at the time. He told people his grandpa was going to the “cemetery” (seminary) to study the Bible. I teased Dad that he was having a midlife crisis when he turned from being a lawyer to being a preacher. Seriously, though, he believed in the power of prayer and so do I.
Not Perfect, but Forgiven
Notice I did not choose the word “perfectionism” to describe what I learned from Dad. He was not perfect, just as we all have our faults. Even physicians are not perfect. In fact, my dad would likely still be with us if it were not for the poor judgement of his doctors. While this was angering, my mom decided to let it go rather than pursue legal action. Forgiveness brings peace. As we approach the time of year when we remember a baby born over 2,000 years ago, “Peace on Earth, good will toward [all people]” has an even greater meaning this year. I miss my dad deeply, but am thankful he did not suffer long and that he left a lasting legacy that I hope to pass on to my children and grandchildren. ‘Til we meet again, Dad, and catch the biggest fish in heaven.