“What do you want of Daddy’s?”
I want his inquisitive mind.
His compassion on widows and orphans.
His commitment to godly values.
His integrity in all things.
His fiery passion.
But among tangibles, these are five things I’m keeping so far…
When our old church got new hymnals way back when, the elders gave my daddy a leather-bound copy to lead with. He spent many hours with it, picking out new melodies on the piano at home, and choosing just the right songs to lead for church services or funerals.
2. His bible
My baby sister gets first pick among our father’s bibles because she asked first, but I want second pick. Daddy highlighted verses, wrote questions in the margins, and scribbled notes in the back.
He was as meticulous a Bible student as anyone I’ve known. I learned a lot from him, and I want to keep learning.
3. His commentary on Romans
So to keep learning, I’m going to make time to read what he wrote the last year of his life: a commentary on the book of Romans. We always knew he should write a book, and I’m glad he finally put his thoughts on paper.
I regret that I didn’t read it earlier when I could have discussed it with him here. But I can always ask him about it later.
4.His church bulletin
I walked into his basement office on Wednesday. It flooded me with remembrances of him. Books, commentaries, clearly-labeled folders, notepads—everywhere. But neatly laid everywhere. This church bulletin lay on top of one pile. It was probably from one of the last times he made it to Sunday services.
And it was so clearly Daddy. In the margins of the sermon outline, he scrawled in his own notes and questions and scriptures. I’ve put it in my own Bible, to remind me to do the same—always thirst for Truth; always thirst for Jesus himself, not another man’s interpretation of Jesus.
5. His stories
Last night at his memorial service, I met several new people I never knew he knew. Co-workers from 20, 30 years ago from NASA who came back to tell us they loved working with him. Men who said he was one of the top influences in their lives. Ladies that he and my mom met in the neighborhood on their daily morning walks down Hughes Road. Young people he encouraged verbally and financially.
I can’t keep the people with me, but I can replay the stories and re-read the cards they sent him and my mom while he was sick, and that they’re still sending since his death.
And I can keep the words written to me from my own dear friends, some who knew him, and some who didn’t, but who know him now through the legacy he’s left in my own life.
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When I was growing up, I thought every daddy was like mine.
But the older I got, the more I learned it wasn’t so. At times I didn’t appreciate the difference—Daddy could be opinionated, stubborn, and outspoken. But used for God, those traits made him into the influential man he was.
Why me? Why was I one of the blessed ones to have a great father? I don’t know. Only by God’s grace. A grace that I can keep in my heart forever.
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