My Dad

My favorite picture of me and my dad.

I want to be a little more personal than usual with this post.

Today, 11 years ago, my dad passed away. It doesn’t seem that long, but there it is. My feelings are like those described in Two Years Before the Mast when they lost a sailor: “It is like losing a limb…You miss his form and the sound of his voice, for habit had made them almost necessary to you, and each of your senses feels the loss.”

As always, I think about him a lot around this time of year. Also, as I get older I wish that he was around, or wonder what he would think about different events in my life.

I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts I’ve been having in hopes that it might start you to thinking along some of the same lines.

Regrets

There are of course things I regret as a son. I regret that I fell away from the church for awhile when he was alive. It must have pained his heart so much, but I”m glad I was restored before he died. I regret that I forgot his birthday once and didn’t even realize it for weeks. However, more regrets that I have are connected with the fact that he isn’t here to even see two of his granddaughters or his brand new grandson born just two weeks ago. He never got to know his oldest granddaughter. I wish that he could have seen them and been an influence on their life.

My dad worked a lot. He was a college president and often a full-time or part-time minister in addition. When I was about 16 he took me aside one night and cried. It is one of the only times I ever saw him cry. He told me that his number one regret was that he didn’t spend more time with me, and getting to know me as I was growing up. Work seemed so much less important to him then, and he regretted that he couldn’t go back and make it up. Of course I told him that it was alright, and that I loved and respected him, but I keep it in mind, and try to not make the same mistake with my children.

I know that he regretted smoking. It was a habit he picked up when he was young, but he was never able to stop. For a short period after his heart surgery, he did quit, but eventually he fell back into it. I truly believe that he would have lived at least ten more years if he could have quit smoking.

Reminisce

I typically think about the good times with my dad now. We went on a trip together to Cooperstown. He told me stories about my grandfather, who died before I was born. I used to go with him when he would preach out of town, or when he would go to gospel meetings. Sometimes, when we sing certain songs at church, I can still hear his voice in my mind. There were many other good memories, but the reason I’m putting this here, is to encourage you, dads, to spend spiritual time with your children. The impressions that it makes last a lifetime and it is the foundation that was put down by my mother and father that gave me the right place to come back to when I no longer wanted to be astray.

Reunion

Finally, I think about that happy reunion. My dad was a faithful Christian until he died. He was not perfect, but he was made perfect in Christ. For that reason I have the hope of seeing him again in that happy reunion in heaven. Parents and children, keep this as a motivation to serve Christ. You will be reunited in heaven. We will meet again.

I like to tell my students when they move on that I will meet them in the Southwest corner of heaven as long as I stay faithful, and they do. I realize that it will very likely not work quite that way, but that’s how I relate to it in human terms. In my mind, there will be a joyous reunion in that corner of heaven. As we grow older, and more people we know have moved on to their final dwelling place, this should encourage us to strive for the goal.

Well, I realize none of this may have been ground breaking for you, but I wanted to jot down my feelings on this anniversary. My mom has remarried now. He is wonderful man, who is a gospel preacher and missionary. I love both of them very much. I do still miss my dad, and I often wish I could hear his voice again, and see the proud look on his face as he holds my son, but I know we will be reunited, and that gives me hope and encouragement.

What it would have looked like for dad to be with my three girls.

Comments

  1. This is a awesome post. It is great to know that we can look forward to a happy reunion when one has been made perfect in Christ. God Bless You, Luke!

  2. Debra Griffin Mitchell says:

    “That one makes me cry.” Luke, I know that you know your dad was very, very proud of you.
    He loved your family, too, and I wish he could have known your three girls and baby son.
    But most of all, he would tell everyone that you not only gave us beautiful grandchildren, but
    you also are teaching those children to love the Lord. Nothing is more important than loving
    God and loving your family. He would be excited by your work with HTH and tickled that you
    can hang sheetrock and paint and lay tile and fix leaky showers–things he couldn’t do.
    He loved the trip to Cooperstown with you and talked about it often. I’m proud of you, too,
    and so is Loy. Some day we will all be together in that corner of heaven–oh joyful day!

  3. Tamara Meyer Bransgrove says:

    Luke, Your dad really was a wonderful man and I am privelged to have known him at FPC. I know you and your family miss him alot. Love the pic of what things might have looked like!! I think about him from time to time. I always enjoyed his Bible classes & the Christian man he was. We will all meet him again in eternity. God Bless you and your family.