My dad and I had a wonderful talk the other night. Sometimes there just isn’t anyone else better than dad to give you that perfect mix of pep talk where it’s, “I’m proud of you” and “You need to stick it out and see it to the end because you are a man” all bundled up perfectly in the conversation you need to push you to keep climbing the stairs of life.
You know, it’s a blessing to be at that point in life where we can talk and listen to each other, both as grown men, and to respect each other and genuinely listen to each other. Lord knows it hasn’t always been that way. And don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t him – it was me and my immaturity that got in the way for so so long.
Yep, I didn’t know very much about honor because I spent too much time with my eyes caught up on myself. I was my own biggest fan, and anyone that stood in the way of my ego was my enemy. And my dad is a real man, an honorable man, and he knew the dangers that I faced, so he tried to help me, even when I was too stubborn to see that he was a loving Father and not an enemy.
You see, being a real dad, one that cares enough to still do what is right and best even when the child doesn’t yet understand it – that is the kind of dad that our heavenly Father is like as well. A dad willing to teach and discipline and stand firm. Yes, that is love. That is the type of love that understands the long term value of things like integrity, hard work, honesty, fairness – and that shares it with those who are theirs (especially when they decide to resist).
You see, my dad learned these things from his dad. I can see granddad Ballinger more in him every day, and that is a wonderful thing, because granddad is a great man who loves God. And I say “is”, because even though granddad left us behind and went to be with the Lord on the last day of the year just 4 years ago, he has just shed the temporary for the eternal. Even though his chair will be empty at our Father’s Day table tomorrow, he is always in our hearts. And even though I can’t touch him, I can see him in my dad, just like I can see Christ in them both.
I’m so thankful for my dad, and all of the generations of dads that led up to mine. I can only hope that some measure of the right stuff that they have, will run of on me, that I’ll be able to be a good daddy to my little girl. Because all I want for Father’s day is to be more like my Father, who taught my dad, and who taught his dad. I just want to honor them all – at least just a little bit.
Happy Father’s day, dad.
Happy Father’s day, Lord.