Sunday, June 15, 2008

Today is Father's Day!

What does it mean, "Father's Day"?

Its supposed to be one day out of the year that we take the time to "honor" our father?

Now, what is a father?

Is it the man who provides the spark that brings life to a child?

Is it the man who dedicates his life to raising and protecting the child who has been given life?

What about the children who grow up never knowing who their father might have been?
Or the children who grow up with a father who beats them every day, instead of kicking the dog or throwing the cat out the door?

Pamela reflects on her father and paints a pretty good picture of a man who should be honored by his children.
Thanks Pam, I really appreciate your heartfelt thoughts.

My father died at age 54 back in 1973. He had a heart murmur most of his life, and after a devastating bout with the Hong Kong flu in 1968, his heart was further damaged.

His dad, died at age 34, in 1920, when my dad was a year and a half old. His body was engulfed in cancer.

I suppose dad learned his dad skills from his step-dad.

In recent years I have learned from my dads step brothers and sisters that life in the household was pretty difficult for dad and his older brother.

Apparently, the most difficult times were at the dinner table. I can relate to that, cuz the dinner table was a nightmare in our house.

Leaving home, and being out on your own, helps to provide a new perspective on where you have been and what experiences you have survived.

My parent's first child was a girl, she died shortly after birth.

I cannot relate to how that might have affected dad; but I lost my first child, a daughter, when she was seven months old.

I recall a couple of things dad had said to me in my younger years that have had an impact on my adult life:
"Slow down; nothing is so important that you have to hurry to get there!"
"If you have to fight, try to get in the first punch, and make sure it puts the other guy down."

Well, I had many mixed messages from dad while growing up.
The toughest time seemed to be when I was in high school.

An old sage once opined that hind sight is always 20-20.

Life has a way of validating the right and good things in earlier times.

After being gone from home for thirteen or fourteen years, all of which was in the Marine Corps.

I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, and began to see what a real father was like in the form of my Heavenly Father.

After attending drug and alcohol rehab counselor training, and submitting to alcohol rehabilitation, I came to see how my childhood had impacted on my adult life.

It was around this time that I began to evaluate my relationship with my dad.
He had been dead for a few years, so, I had to evaluate without being able to discuss with him.

I came to understand that we all make mistakes, and quite often we try to do the best we can.

About this time I wrote a poem attempting to bridge the gap between my dad and I.

To my father I would like to say;
I thank you for your sacrifice.
I know you raised me up your way
and done your best for twice the price.

Many times I wanted to sit and talk
of things I didn't understand.
Like things you said that made me balk,
or the hurt that came form your strong hand.

I'd like to say "I'm sorry, dad
for hating you as I've done,
for the nasty words I've thought and said
you see, I'm still your son.

"I forgive you dad, if its not too late
and I love you too, I know.
Its been a long hard time to wait
and its gone so very slow."

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you (Deuteronomy 5:16, NASB).

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