One of my absolute favorite things about my childhood was going camping with my family. The mountain climbing, swimming, hiking, relaxing around the fire, and of course scary stories were right up my alley.
I got to take my family camping at the same place that I grew up camping. It was a blessing. As we were making new memories together, old memories flooded my mind. In the field I was playing catch with my children I still heard my dad’s keys jingling (he wore his keys on a D link on the outside of his pants) as he would run to catch the Frisbee that I just overthrew. As we walked part of the way up a mountain I smiled as I remembered my dad waking me up one morning at 6 with the words I was waiting for “Let’s Go!” as we went hiking for hours on end. As I drove by the lake I thought about all of the magnificent sculptures he made in that sand. The man was truly an artist. I remember one particular Sunday morning that my mother provided the emblems for the Lord’s Supper while we went and worshiped in a cave. My dad spoke to us about the kind of faith it would take to live in the 1st century where Christians had to worship in caves and in other private places. He spoke with passion, and I will never forget it.
While I was trying my best to teach my son how to throw a baseball, I learned a valuable lesson. I was showing him how to throw and all he wanted to do was close his eyes and randomly throw the ball in the opposite direction. So I thought we would try batting. He kept hitting the ball behind him. Then we just played catch. I could not for the life of me get him to throw an accurate ball.
While I was chasing another one of his wild passes, I wondered how many hours my dad spent doing this for me. I wondered why I never heard him become frustrated when I couldn’t throw very well. It was about time for us to wrap up our play time and have dinner as Jagger came up and hugged my leg and said, “Daddy, thanks for teaching me how to play. You’re the best daddy.”
It was at this moment that I had my answer to my previous question. My dad never lost his cool about an off target pass or an uncoordinated swing of a bat, because my dad was not investing in an athlete, he was investing in his son.
The memories I have of my dad spending time wrestling, playing ball, playing video games, hunting, and yes even working, are some of my most precious memories that I will forever cling to.
There are moments, days, even weeks that are still unbearable as I think about losing my dad. I still can’t believe it. There have been times that I felt as if I did not know what to do with myself. However, thanks to the grace of God and the tender heart of my son I was reminded of what I should be doing… Investing in my family.
I thank God for blessing me with a father who genuinely loved me, spent time with me, and invested in me. It is my prayer that I will live up to his legacy within my family. My heart hurts because I lost a father, a daddy, a buddy, a mentor, and a friend. However, I LOVE the thought of my dad resting from his labors in paradise.
Psalm 34:18- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit