this one is all about my dad

Posted: August 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Ask anyone in ministry to messy people today and they will soon enough admit this:  it is hard to teach about a loving “Father God” to people whose fathers have been absent, abusive, or even just emotionally unavailable.  We tend to form our ideas about the role of “father” largely from that first core relationship.  If your dad bailed on you, it can be hard for you to believe that God will never leave or forsake you.  If your dad held a grudge every time you messed up, it can be hard to believe that God is a warm, loving father.  If your dad left even deeper scars than that, it can be hard to even believe that there is God at all, perhaps (though I am not contending that every atheist had a dad problem).

I have been blessed, in this department.  Though he was a teenage father with ample excuse to fail at parenthood, my dad in fact did not fail.  He stayed.  He worked hard to provide for our family – but not to that workaholic point of skipping our important events.  We ate supper at the table most every night, with my parents sharing about their days – I knew not just about my dad’s world inside our home, but even about those who populated his workplace, where I don’t recall ever setting foot even once. 

My dad taught me how to ride a bike, handle a horse, run a chainsaw, shoot a gun, drive a tractor, back up a horse trailer, and insisted on teaching me to drive a stick shift before I was ever allowed to drive anything with an automatic transmission.  As I was growing up, he treated me like a strong and capable person, never implying that I was too weak or otherwise inferior for having been born a girl.  This meant I became proficient at all sorts of farm tasks, some of which tested muscles and others of which tested sheer grit.  That built some strains of unshakeable confidence in me. 

Best of all, my dad was my biggest fan in those awkward, awful teenage years when most everything else was going wrong.  He consistently reminded me of good things about myself. While I certainly disappointed and frustrated him along the way, I cannot ever remember my dad talking down to me in any kind of degrading way.  Ever.  I have now lived long enough and talked deep stuff with enough people to understand:  my dad is a rare bird, in this. 

While I would never be silly enough to contend that my dad (or anyone else’s earthly dad) is perfect, it is because of my dad’s constant and unflagging love and acceptance of me that I am fairly easily able to believe that God’s love, too, is constant and unflagging.  So obviously, my dad HAD to be the very first entry in this, my new little mini-series on men who have blessed me. 

(For those of you who are tracking whether I keep my promise to write every day in 2013, this is what I wrote yesterday, on the back of some scraps of paper I found in my purse, while sitting in a hookah bar where some friends of mine were doing a show, and using an ink pen that I borrowed from the girl who was passing out hookas, ramen noodles, and bottled sodas.  You do what you can with what you have!  Today’s blog is also written…I did it on more scraps of paper from my purse, which clearly should have been cleaned out but thankfully was not.  I wrote that one on the Amtrak train, coming home tonight from Chicago, pressing the piece of paper against my leg.  I’ll type that one up next.)

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