I’ve spent too much time looking at the calendar this week, abruptly confronted by the fact that tomorrow my children will celebrate their second Father’s Day without their father. There’s not really a way to explain the pain of this reminder other than it feels really lousy. It’s hard and sad and just plain blows. I don’t want our family to spend every Father’s Day reflecting on what we don’t have. We don’t need a “Hallmark holiday” to remind us of that and there are 364 other days in the year to focus on Taylor, the man he was and the man he might have become. I would rather take this upcoming Sunday to reflect on all the wonderful fathers we do have in our lives and what a blessing that is.
I consider myself the luckiest to have my own dad, Paul- affectionately called Captain by his grandchildren. When I was growing up my dad worked as a sea captain for the Merchant Marines. His career called for him to be away from home often and for extended periods of time, but I don’t ever remember especially missing him. This is probably because my dad made every effort to ensure his kids knew how much he loved them. I do remember getting letters in the mail and snuggling up with my mom and siblings at night as we read along with tapes he recorded of himself reading The Boxcar Children books to us. Souvenirs from different countries and cultures all around the world were also an added bonus and some of the most treasured possessions of my childhood.
Despite being away for work, my dad also got to come home for extended periods of time and was always very hands-on chaperoning preschool field trips, leading my brother’s Boy Scouts troop, and taking my sister and me to cheer practices. He also ensured that all of his children understood the value of a hard day’s work and a good assembly line while drilling into our heads, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” When someone is away in distance, it makes the time together all that much sweeter and I think that growing up this way helped me to focus on quality time. It helped me to focus on ensuring that my own children will have memories of quality time spent with their parents.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”Matthew 7:24-25
Captain is the kind of person who always needs to have a project. I think he even secretly likes when things break because he genuinely loves to take things apart, learn how they work, and fix them. He has passed this need to know how everything works by taking it apart on to his granddaughter, Charlotte, making my two-year-old’s curiosity a daily and enjoyable challenge. I know as a parent how devastating it must be to know he can’t fix my heartache. He does help by fixing whatever he can think of (whether it’s broken or not) around the ranch when he and my mom come to visit. We got our puppy, Peter, in November so for our Christmas gift my dad purchased and installed a dog door. Captain thought this would be an easy project he could tackle in an hour or so, but quickly found out just how solid Adobe walls are. When he finally completed the installation half a day later he laughed as he said, “I’ll tell you one thing. This house is not going anywhere. It is solid!”
Adobe is commonly used as a building material in the southwest because it is a strong mixture of clay and straw that can withstand the desert climate. Using the materials of the earth for an adobe structure is an ancient building technique that is said to date back almost 10,000 years. Not only is adobe fireproof, but it insulates incredibly well allowing us to keep the heat and a/c off most of the year. The solid foundation of our house keeps us safe inside from the outside world, the same way having a solid foundation in Christ ensures our protection from the elements of a fallen world we are constantly facing. When people tell me they don’t know how I am “doing it” in reference to living life after the “rain came down, the streams rose, and the wind blew,” I tell them it is because of my foundation. When you live your life focusing on the Lord and His will, then you will find that you are still standing even after the worst circumstances life can flood you with. If you are lucky, you have a dad to hold your hand and stand by your side through the rains and if you put your faith in Jesus, you have a house built on the rock.
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