This Father’s Day, I will travel the many miles to be with my 89-year-old father. I feel incredibly blessed to have him as my dad. He is the best, and we joke that I am his favorite and my bother is mom’s favorite! There is something very special about the bond between father and daughter. When I was a child, my father could do no wrong. Now that I am grown, I still feel that way even though I see his imperfections.
Dad immigrated to the U.S. when he was two-years old. His family home and property were seized in Germany and his father captured, and forced to serve in the Russian army. They lost everything.
When my dad reached the shores of America and stood in line at Ellis Island, he couldn’t speak a word of English. But his family assimilated into the culture, got jobs, and built a life that supported their dream in free America, the land of opportunity.
Dad is a WWII veteran. He proudly served in the U.S. Navy and was equally proud when his oldest son was drafted in the Vietnam War and served as an Army officer. My brother died in service to our country, a loss that forever changed our family, but one my father understood. He knows the meaning of sacrifice and the cost of freedom.
All his life, Dad worked hard, putting all three of his children through college and even graduate school. He believes education is a means to a better life and for that I am grateful. Throughout my childhood, he quizzed me on my homework, rehearsed drama lines with me, made me practice the piano and flute, and was always there. My dad was a steady presence, a guiding hand, and a firm, yet consistent disciplinarian who pushed his children to make a better life. For 65 years, he has been married to my mom. This past May, I flew home and helped him take the love of his life to an assisted living home. In all my years, I’ve seen him cry twice: the time my brother was killed and the night before we packed up mom for her new residence. It was bittersweet.
Most important, my dad is a quiet, steady spiritual force that rarely talked about his Christianity, but lived it everyday. He happily served in the church whenever the doors were opened and joyfully engaged in worship (even though he couldn’t sing!). He taught me to live what I believed and to not compromise my faith.
This Father’s Day, appreciate your dad and find a way to honor him. If you are not as fortunate to have a father like I have, perhaps there is a special memory the two of you can share. If you need to forgive him, do it. Do not allow years of unspoken pain to keep you apart. If you don’t have a father in your life, take time this holiday to honor your spiritual father or mentor. He will not be with you forever and regret is hard to shake. Extend grace and show him the love of Christ. He may not be perfect, but he is your dad.
What do you like most about your father?
~ Dr. Linda