Monday, March 23, 2009

Memory day

Today is shaping up to be a memory day. I have been thinking about dad. He passed away March 8, 2007. He was born July 5, 1930. He was so much more than the sum of his parts. At times in my life he wore several hats. He seemed to always know which hat to wear at the right time. Allow me to explain:

He was my father (always.)

For a time in my life, he was my Pastor.

He was my teacher.

There were times he was my Foreman on an electrical job.

There were times he was my tool buddy on electrical jobs.

He was my friend.

He was my mentor.

He was my sectional leader when I was District Elder, Church Growth Director, and Christian Education Director.

We have worked together and we have butted heads. We didn't always agree, as any two individuals are apt to do. He knew how to disagree without being disagreeable. He always sought to teach me. He never sugar-coated the truth. He told me the truth even when he knew it would cut me. He took no pleasure in the hurt, but realized the greater good made it necessary.

I remember growing up that I never had to question that he loved me. I hated him at times, or thought I did. I was mad at him at times.

He was, as you can gather from the hats he wore, a minister, pastor, and an electrician. When I was a brash 13-year-old, he asked me what i wanted to be when I grew up. I told him I wasn't sure but knew two things I never wanted to be, an electrician or a preacher.

I accepted the call into the ministry when I was 18-years-old, and began my apprenticeship to the Electricians union the same year. Odd, how life works.

I write, draw, and paint. Years later, I discovered some paintings that dad did, and heard of his considerable writing skills as well. It seemed, in this case, the acorn did not fall far from the tree.

He taught me even when I didn't know he was teaching me. He taught me by living his life. There was an incident in my life when I was 17 that arose through a comment my sister made aloud in Sunday School where Mom was our teacher. When we got home, Mom was reading me the riot act, when she asked Dad if he had anything to say. His response, "I can't make him take it back." It turned out the girl was not pregnant.

Cut to years later:

My daughter calls and I need to come to where she works. She has something important to tell me. She was pregnant. She was 18. I go to her work. She comes out to hug me. As we hug, I ask the question, before she can even tell me, "How far along are you?" I remembered Dad. I could have yelled. I could have screamed. I could have told her it was stupid. I could have quoted statistics about teenage pregnancy. However, all the things I could do, right or wrong, wouldn't take away her pregnancy. Thanks Dad.

Trust me, I am not claiming to be the best father of the year. I made plenty of mistakes. I did the wrong thing sometimes. Parenting is a learning/teaching thing.

The lessons were as varied as the situations we encountered. Dad knew how to be right and he knew how to be wrong. One thing he told me was: If you did it, admit it. If you didn't do it, dont accept the blame. Be willing to apologize even when you are not in the wrong.

When dad died, the funeral home couldn't hold the flowers or the people. A friend of mine, showing support for TJ and I came to the funeral home to bring flowers, even though he had never met dad. He was amazed. He had never seen anything like it. There were 110 flower arrangements sent or delivered. There were over 1000 visitors. People came from all over the country. He was a pastor of a small church in Lexington, Kentucky, and his life had touched the world. There were missionaries. There were pastors. There were evangelists. There were electricians. There were friends. There was family. The funeral was attended by over 500. His burial was a more private affair, just family, mainly.

Someone told me, recently, that I had the same heart. I was thrilled that someone might see dad in me. Someone told me just this weekend that I reminded them of dad. Again, it thrills me to be compared to him. While I am an individual with my own personality, I like when people see the best of dad in me.

Dad always worried that he would be forgotten. No one that knew dad, ever forgot him. I am always running into people who knew dad.

You can google his name and not find out much. Still, he was a positive influence to thousands of people. He will always be in my heart.

I love you Dad, now as ever.


miruspeg said...

Ron that was a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it.
We can learn so much from that generation. Alot of their values has been lost replaced by greed and selfishness.
It is a great joy that YOU are following in your father's footsteps with all his wonderful attributes.
Bless you dear Ron

Octamom said...

Such precious memories, such a precious heritage.

Thanks for sharing this.


Debbie said...

You know Ron, every day I read people's comments that say they are crying after reading a post. I never believed them.
But today, you have brought tears to my eyes. This was such a beautiful tribute. How could you not be like that great man you describe?

Retro Girl said...

You were very blessed to have him for a father. And he, was very blessed to have you for his son. Even though I've never met him...I feel as though I sort of have, in you.

What beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing them with us. I'm sure he is very very proud of you. ***HUGS***

Mrs Parks said...

I really miss having my Dad around too.
Aren't you happy to have had such a great Dad...

I'll help you think about and remember your Dad today :)

Chasity said...

This was beautiful and so true. I'm really happy that you are compared to Papaw because I am told at least once a week that I am just like you. I am proud to be anything like him. And who know maybe one day I'll tell my children they are just like him too :)