10.22.2013

Three Things I Learned From My Dad

It has been two years since my father passed away.  I have written about him a few times over the years (you can read this and this if you are so inclined) but for some reason I have shied away from talking about him since.

As the anniversary of his death began to draw near, I found myself thinking about him again.  I have been careful to avoid revising history to the point where I remember my dad through the perspective of rose colored glasses.  The man was anything but "rosy."  That said, I have come to appreciate the positive influences he had on my life.

After much retrospection, I have pinpointed three specific things that I learned from my dad.  I would like to share them with you today.  In no particular order....

1.  A generous heart.  

My dad was one of the most generous people that I've ever known.  I have vivid memories from my childhood of people stopping by our house and leaving with an entire room of our furniture.  When my sister and I would ask him what was going on, he would shrug and say, "They were in need and so I gave them what we had.  It's just stuff."

I saw the same story play out time and time again.  Sometimes my dad's generosity extended to my own possessions like the time he gave my beloved Atari to another child.  I can still remember how angry I felt at the time.  As you can imagine, this "give until it hurts" mindset had a huge impact on me.

I have a home full of beautiful things that I love, but my earthy possessions have never been my focus.  The things that I value cannot be bought in a store.  What matters most are my relationships... my memories...  Everything else is just stuff.   

2.  A love of fishing and the great outdoors.  

While I would argue that I don't quite share my dad's extreme enthusiasm for all things outdoorsy, I did spend more than my fair share of time camping and fishing when I was growing up.  As a result, I can rig a fishing pole and fillet a fish with my eyes shut.  It's a good thing too, because I have been blessed with a son that adores these activities.  

After my dad died, my sister managed to snag my dad's tackle boxes and fishing poles for my boy. What a treasure trove of fishing wisdom they have been!  I have spent hours digging through the contents and trying to remember my dad's tricks and techniques.

In a perfect world, my dad would have been healthy and able to teach my boy all of these things himself.  Unfortunately, he wasn't and so I am happily teaching the boy myself.  

3.  A belief in God.

As a rule, I don't generally talk too much about my faith here on the old blog.  But in light of today's topic, I am going to indulge myself for a few paragraphs.  

My dad didn't become a Christian until he was 32.  While all the details are still vague (I never got to hear the whole story), I know the gist of it.  He was hit by a car on an Oregon highway and nearly killed.  That's when he met God.  

I was two at the time and recall going to visit him in the hospital, his leg encased in a full-length white cast. After he returned home, I remember the week he spent sitting in his favorite chair crying because he realized God loved him. Any good that was in my dad was a result of his encounter with God.  Without Him, I have no doubt he would have been a monster just like his own father had been.

Some of my earliest memories revolve around a deep knowledge that God was with me. Despite the volatility and unpredictable nature of living with and alcoholic, I had an anchor to hold me.  Even now, when struggles come, my faith and trust in God is unwavering.

I am thankful that I am able to recognized these simple gifts passed down to me by a broken man...  to see the beauty in the ashes.

What about you, dear readers?  What things did you learn from your parents?

2 comment(s). Leave yours!:

kathleen said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful!

Gretchen said... Best Blogger Tips

It's not an anniversary that's easy, I'm sure. Still, I admire how you focus on the good he taught you even though your relationship was affected by alcoholism. I get it. Hugs.

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